How to defeat the IS?

The media continue to report on military victories against the IS in Syria and Iraq. But simply stopping the organisation's advance in the Middle East won't banish the threat of terror, observers warn.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Fighting IS now takes precedence in Turkey

After the attack in Istanbul the Turkish leadership is rethinking its strategy stepping up the fight against the IS terrorist organisation, Der Standard comments:

“The Turkish leadership consisting of the conservative, Sunni-oriented president Tayyip Erdoğan and his party, has done its bit to strengthen the Islamic State. Erdoğan thought he could ride this tiger: everything that could hasten the fall of the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was by definition good. ... The terrorist attack at Istanbul Atatürk Airport has the Turkish leadership rethinking its position. Nevertheless we should take Erdoğan's comment that the IS is the 'most evil organisation' with a grain of salt. For the Turkish government the Kurdish underground army PKK and its sympathisers are no better. ... But in Ankara the priorities are becoming clear: the fight against the Islamists takes precedence.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Wahhabism and the Web are IS's key resources

The bloody attack in Dhaka on the weekend was carried out by seven local IS terrorists, youths from well-off families. The fact that young people all over the world feel attracted to the IS is the result of online propaganda financed by rich oil-producing states, the Catholic daily Avvenire points out:

“The rich and sated youths who carried out the bloodbath in Dhaka are all sons of the convincing and radicalising propaganda promoted by the centres of Wahhabism. … The money pouring endlessly from the petrol coffers goes into three different channels: weapons purchases, international shopping sprees (companies, football teams, luxury goods) and religious marketing. … Thanks to the Internet this marketing has transcended the boundaries of orthodox Wahhabism and become a veritable trend. … We can counter it by tackling the two Ws: Wahhabism and the Web, and cutting off jihadism's resources.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Helplessness fuels terror

At least 120 people were killed in two bombings in Baghdad on Saturday night. The Islamic State was behind at least one of the attacks. Clearly the terror organisation's goal is no longer the establishment of an independent state, Die Welt comments:

“These victims will by no means be the last, because the IS is losing its caliphate in Syria and Iraq and is now waging a war like the one al-Qaeda once waged. ... Of course these changes on the part of the IS and al-Qaeda are no more than metamorphoses of helplessness. ... Death tolls are not a lasting achievement. That provides some solace, but it shouldn't. Because helplessnes - in societies, states, and biographies - is what fuels the evolution of terrorism. It will grow in places from where the only information that reaches us is the number of deaths and casualties - for now.”

La Stampa (IT) /

The answer lies with Nato

Twenty-eight people, including nine Italians, died during an attack on a café carried out by the IS in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Saturday night. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stressed that the values of the West would be defended against terror. La Stampa suggests how:

“On July 8 and 9 the Nato members convene in Warsaw. … Nato is a political and military organisation. With Brexit on the horizon it is the only round of talks in which the United States, the majority of the EU member states (including Sweden and Finland, which are strengthening their ties with the alliance), the UK, Canada, Turkey, and Norway all participate. After the attacks in Istanbul and Dhaka the meeting in Warsaw provides an opportunity for immediate talks about a kind of terrorism has local bases but knows no geographical borders. The population expects the summit to provide an answer to their fears. If the leaders fail to provide it they will have missed a unique opportunity.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Vigilance called for now more than ever

Three suspected terrorists have been arrested in Belgium in the wake of counter-terror raids. The authorities reportedly received information that an attack was planned to take place in Brussels during Belgium's match with Ireland in Bordeaux on Saturday. La Libre Belgique is not entirely reassured:

“We perhaps - or even probably - escaped an attack that would have left many dead on Saturday somewhere in Brussels. ... But the reality is staring us in the face: jihadism still has both the means and the manpower to strike hard in Belgium. As to the setbacks suffered by the IS in Libya and Syria, they're a source of satisfaction for the Western states but also a cause for concern. If the European fighters return home they will swell the troops that are perhaps less well organised than a few months ago, but are still every bit as determined and dangerous. Vigilance is called for now more than ever.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Europe is a breeding ground for terror

Despite the recent military victories against the IS the fight against terrorism is far from won, Helsingin Sanomat stresses:

“The IS has not been able to establish its planned caliphate of fear in northern Iraq and Syria, although two years ago it seemed unstoppable. ... In the long term the decisive front against the IS will be in Europe. Here the fight isn't being waged with weapons but by other means. ... Although it was not very well known in the past, the IS matured with the Syria war and has overshadowed established terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and its support groups, which used to be considered more dangerous. If nothing is done to stop it, the IS will also have successors. The potential breeding ground for terrorism is Europe. Europeans and immigrants must join forces to ensure that terrorist organisations don't benefit from the new waves of migration.”

Standart (BG) /

Empty coffers spell the end for IS

The Islamic State is running out of cash, which could soon spell the end for the terrorist organisation, daily paper Standart believes:

“The biggest problem for the IS is its plunging oil revenues, caused on the one hand by the lower prices on the global markets and on the other hand by targeted air strikes that are hindering oil production. … The lack of money is demotivating the IS fighters. According to reports in the media only 20 percent of them are fighting in Iraq and Syria for ideological reasons. Most of them are doing it for money and for the promised free accommodation. Many fighters are now disillusioned and returning to their homes. … The sooner the money supplies are cut off the faster the Syrian and Iraqi government troops will regain control of the oil refineries and rid the world of the scourge of the 21st century.”

Világgazdaság (HU) /

Fight terrorism in Europe

The war on terror won't be won unless it goes beyond interventions in the Middle East, warns security expert Máté Szalai in the business daily Világgazdaság:

“The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 didn't bring Al-Qaeda to its knees; on the contrary, that was when the terrorist organisation's international network really began to expand. Occupying a country in the Middle East won't make the terrorist cells in Europe disappear. … In the war on terror not (only) the Islamic State, and certainly not a different culture, must be defeated but the el-Bakraoui brothers and co. It is not our task to resolve the conflicts in the Middle East but to resolve the problems here in Europe that are driving European citizens to turn their backs on European values and join the terrorists.”

Dnevnik (BG) /

The oppressed take refuge in radical Islam

The more poverty and oppression Muslims in Europe experience the greater the danger is that they will turn into radicals, the news site Dnevnik warns:

“One of the reasons why more and more Muslims born in Europe are falling into the clutches of radical Islam is that it gives them something European ideology can't give them: a romantic explanation for why they are poor and oppressed while others around them seem to be living happy and prosperous lives. Radical Islam turns them into heroes. It allows them to surrender to an aesthetic form of obedience that dulls their senses, so that they no longer need ask what they can do with the freedom imposed on them by the Europeans. And last but not least it offers them the sense of being part of a strong community, one with which they want to identify - unlike the despised Europe of parliaments, religions and ghettoes to which they don't want to belong.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Fight against IS must begin in schools

Europe's education ministers plan to introduce a new teaching programme to fight radicalisation among youths. The centre-left daily De Morgen sees this as a clever first step:

“The number of Muslim youths who feel that the violence perpetrated by al-Qaeda and the IS is justified is already very high. And on the other side the Islamophobic momentum of the far right is also intensifying. If this dangerous process of polarisation isn't stopped it will be harder and harder to build a harmonious society. This is precisely what the Islamic State is trying to do in European societies: pitch groups against each other through terrorism and fear. If we want to eliminate these destructive forces through education we must offer our teachers and educators far more support in their daily efforts to explain democracy, openness and secularism with enthusiasm and without taboos.”

al-Sabah (IQ) /

The IS on the defensive

The Iraqi daily al-Sabah looks at the potential consequences of the Brussels attacks for the fight against the IS:

“One potential scenario is that the West pushes for the removal of the Assad regime to free the way for a transition phase under the leadership of the regular Syrian Army and the moderate opposition, which would then together fight the IS with international support. There is, however another scenario: the West being forced to stick with the Assad regime and integrate it into the international coalition against the IS. … The attacks may also influence the situation in Libya. Europe is known to be working towards a military intervention with the participation of Libya's neighbours Tunisia and Algeria. That means Europe is thinking about fighting the IS directly on the ground - an important development that could lead to the defeat of the IS.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

IS terrorists must be conquered ideologically

Military successes in the Middle East alone cannot defeat the IS, the conservative daily Hürriyet believes:

“Al-Qaeda, for example, never occupied an area the size of that controlled by the IS. Nevertheless, with the help of certain countries and groups it was able to carry out terrorist attacks all over the world. So one thing is clear: simply driving the IS out of the areas it holds today won't be enough as long as the ideology that feeds its terror lives on. ... The fact that many people who have never lived in this region and perhaps don't even have direct links with the IS use its name to spread terror where they live has to do with the ineffectiveness of the global fight against terror. Terror financing, border protection, terrorist propaganda over satellites and the logistic support for terrorist groups have reached such proportions that no single state can fight them on its own.”

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Evrensel (TR) / 14 April 2016
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