Paris and Moscow wage war on IS

Since the attacks in Paris, France has intensified its airstrikes against IS positions in Syria, in cooperation with Russia. But bombing alone will hardly ensure a victory over the terrorist organisation, some commentators write. Others enjoin the Western powers not to let themselves be drawn into a ground war.

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Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

War a hopeless cause without ground troops

France and Russia's airstrikes against the IS don't stand a chance without ground troops, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore complains: "As long as the airstrikes aren't backed up by a robust ground offensive, we shouldn't be too optimistic about their effectiveness. If Hollande really wants to wage the 'merciless war' on the IS he announced he will have to deploy ground troops. Four brigades with artillery, tanks and helicopters, a contingent of around 20,000 men to back up the Syrian, Kurdish and Iraqi troops could wipe out the IS within weeks, liberate Raqqa and Mosul and then leave it to the regional powers to stabilise the region. France has at most 6,000 troops, and it can only deploy them if the new 'entente cordiale' with Moscow can persuade [Syrian ruler] Assad to allow French troops to land on Syrian soil."

Trouw (NL) /

West must not be drawn into ground war

France and its allies must avoid war rhetoric and rushed decisions, the Christian-social daily Trouw believes: "The desire to 'wage war' on the IS only threatens to further escalate the fighting in Syria and Iraq. That, however, is exactly what the IS wants: to initiate a ground war and draw Western armies into the conflict. An option that US President Barack Obama rightly rejects. Even heavy bombing of Syrian positions only makes sense if there's a clear mandate for it and an escape route for the civilians caught between the IS and the international coalition. If Russia abandons its blockade in the UN Security Council, every effort must be made to procure a mandate supported by as many powers as possible. ... Particularly in view of the threat of terror, thinking twice before you act is a hallmark of strong leadership."

Le Monde (FR) /

Don't sacrifice all for alliance with Russia

The West must not let itself be fooled by Russia in the fight against the jihadists, the centre-left daily Le Monde warns: "Russia intervened in Syria because Vladimir Putin wanted to see his country return to the league of the major powers. And he enjoyed precisely that role on Monday at the G20 summit in Antalya. He also wanted to prevent the collapse of Syria in order to preserve Russian interests there. Putin's most recent statements show that he remains stuck in the logic of confrontation with the West, which he accuses of having deceived Russia at the end of the Cold War. … The West must not sacrifice the principles that unite it - and on which its support for Ukraine is based - for the sake of gaining Russia's support in the fight against the IS."

Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

Cut IS's money supplies

The allies against the IS should finally take serious steps to cut off the jihadists' money and weapons supplies, demands the Christian-liberal daily Salzburger Nachrichten: "IS oil facilities were attacked for the first time on Monday. … Clearly it takes a massacre in a European capital and the bombing of a Russian aircraft to convince the US, the UK, France and Russia that the murderers can only be stopped if their money supplies are cut off. The murders in Paris were only possible because the international weapons trade continues to flourish unabated. The jihadists were able to buy all kinds of equipment without any problems. People like to talk about the black market but these weapons are not made in backyards. They are high tech devices that are made in cutting edge factories. Many respected states - including the allied states that are waging war against the IS - have either direct or indirect stakes in these factories, or at least have an interest in them."