Does the West want to defeat ISIS? And if so, can it?


Polemic Paper, 2017
20 Pages

Excerpt

Elise Rehbein
Contents
Abstract 3
Introduction 4
Literature review 6-10
Discussion 11-16
Conclusion 17
Evaluation 17-18
Bibliography 19-20
2

Elise Rehbein
Abstract
The topic of Islamic State is one which has drawn the attention of the media all across the
globe and there is a great deal of debate over how and if they can be stopped. In order to
find a way to defeat ISIS, it has to be seen as both as a state in the Middle East and an
ideology. It is impossible to erase its ideology completely, but if problems in the Middle East
are solved people won't have reasons to join terror organisations and it will be easier to
reconquer territory held by ISIS. I believe it is possible that the US only tries to contain ISIS
rather than defeat it. Simply because ISIS is threatening Russia and the US wants to stop
Russian influence in the Middle East. On a deeper level, the US wants to destabilize the
region further in order to ensure its interests are prioritised. Specifically, the US is allowing
the existence of groups such as ISIS because it desires greater control over natural
resources such as oil. ISIS emerged out of political conflicts in the Middle East caused by
divisions within Middle Eastern countries and the intervention of foreign nations such as the
US. It should therefore be the main priority to solve these problems but this is impossible if
the countries in the Middle East that want democracy, Russia and the West don't work
together.
3

Elise Rehbein
Introduction
The terror has reached Europe. Now people see ISIS as their problem too and not just as
the problem of the population in the Middle East and the Western government is forced to
reassure its populations by trying or pretending to try to defeat ISIS. Due to the soviet
invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 Osama bin Laden and other young radicals formed the core
of the al-Qaeda network. After the soviet withdrawal in 1988 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi joined.
He later founded the group we today know as ISIS. When he was killed by an US airstrike in
2006 the group "announced that the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) had been established" . In
1
2010 the Iraqi government was weakened because of the prime minister Nouri al- Maliki who
after withdrawal of the US troops "stripped political opponents of power, appointed his
cronies to run the army and violently oppressed Sunnis." A perfect condition for ISIS to get
2
more followers. At the same time "Syria erupted in Arab Spring protests that became a civil
war." By then ISIS had Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a new leader who officially divorced ISIS
3
from al-Qaeda in 2013 and renamed itself: "the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria". By
4
2014 ISIS and Al qaeda were completely split and "struggled over territory and ideological
control over the global jihadist movement." After ISIS leader declared a caliphate with
5
himself as the caliph in june 2014, ISIS "gained a huge leg up on al-Qaeda in the struggle for
global jihadist supremacy".
6
"One difference between ISIS and other Islamist and jihadist movements, including
al-Qaeda, is the group's emphasis on eschatology ­ that is, a belief in a final Day of
Judgment by God, and specifically, a belief that the arrival of one known as Imam Mahdi is
near. ISIS believes that it will defeat the army of "Rome" at the town of Dabiq, in fulfilment of
prophecy. Following its interpretation of the Hadith of the Twelve Successors, ISIS also
believes that after al-Baghdadi there will be only four more legitimate caliphs."
7
ISIS is an extremely dangerous terrorist militia. They follow "an extremist
interpretation of Islam, promoting religious violence, and regards Muslims who do not agree
with its interpretations as infidels." They try to live exactly like their prophet Muhammed and
8
practise the sharia. They take the part in the quran in which Muslims are called to kill infidels
1
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
Idahosa Stephen
Osaherumwen and Adebayo Kafilat Mutunrayo are students of International Relations: Global
Security and Development Cooperation at the Department of Theory and History of International
Relations at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (Moscow). (2016)
2
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
(p.59)
3
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
(p.59)
4
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
(p.59)
5
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
(p.60)
6
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
(p.60)
7
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
(p.60)
8
http://scienceph.ru/d/413259/d/science_and_world_no_7_35_july_vol_ii.pdf
(p.61)
4

Elise Rehbein
literally. And for them infidels are all the people who don't agree with them and don't submit
to them. They are not afraid of death because to die as a martyr is the best thing that can
happen to them. In their opinion they are fighting an apocalyptic war in God's will.
The refugee crisis in Europe got me interested in the Middle East. I wanted to know
why people left their home and often risk their live on a dangerous travel to come and live
where I live. I wanted to help them because I felt lucky to be born in a safe country. I worked
in a refugee camp for 2 weeks in Germany as a work experience which made me become
familiar with the process refugees go through when they arrive and also with a lot of different
cultures. In wanted to learn more about the conflicts in the Middle East but in my school in
Germany this theme isn't covered. With the EPQ I found a possibility to get to know the
subject and learn more about it. One refugee I met told me his story and talked a lot about
al-Qaeda. He and many other flew from those terror organisations. Because of the abuse of
human rights and violations of international law of al-Qaeda and ISIS it is important to stop
them. In my EPQ I discuss if it is possible that the West defeats ISIS. I consider the fact that
ISIS is both an organisation and an ideology and will discuss if it is even possible to defeat
an ideology. I will also analyse the acts of the West especially of the US and compare it to
Russia's acts and find out if the US has a real interest in defeating ISIS. In my dissertation I
am referring to this terror milizia as ISIS: the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. "Al-Sham
can be translated variously as "the Levant", "Greater Syria", "Syria" or even "Damascus"." It
9
is important to know that this region is understood historically so it goes beyond the
contemporary state territory of Syria.
10
9
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27994277
10
https://www.news.at/a/is-daesh-bezeichnung-name-terrormiliz
5

Elise Rehbein
Literature review
The journal article "What ISIS really wants" by Graeme Wood "set[s] off a firestorm" as the
11
New Republic magazine describes it. With its thesis that "the Islamic State is Islamic. Very
Islamic." it stands in direct contradiction to Obama's statement, which "tries to de-legitimize
12
ISIS by calling it un-Islamic" . Wood thinks that the West needs to understand the belief of
13
ISIS in order to predict its behavior. If their ideology and intentions is not fully understood -
he beliefs that this situation equates to the majority of Western leaders - it will lead to
strategic errors. Wood sees ISIS as defeatable, unlike al-Qaeda. Which is the reason why he
thinks the split between al-Qaeda and ISIS needs to be appreciated. He believes that
al-Qaeda is ineradicable because it can go underground. Something ISIS can't do without
stopping to be a caliphate. If it no longer had command of territory "the propaganda value of
the caliphate would disappear, and with it the supposed religious duty to immigrate and
serve it."
14
The question now is how to take ISIS' territory. Wood explains that attacking ISIS on
the ground would give them the war they want because ISIS is waiting for the day they fight
against the "crusader armies" in Dabiq where the crusader armies are going to be burned.
15
ISIS believes that after that battle in Dabiq they will expand and that an "anti-Messiah,
known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal" will kill all caliphate's fighters until 5,000 of
16
them remain. These 5,000 fighters will be saved by Jesus who returns to earth and spears
Dajjal to lead the 5,000 to victory. So apparently ISIS wants American invasion. But Wood
also says that "given everything we know about Islamic State, continuing to slowly bleed it
appears the best of bad military options" . In the article "Military Action Against ISIS is Only
17
a Fraction of the Solution" by Zoe Savellos she explains that it's not possible to eradicate a
18
belief. Savellos is convinced that a military campaign alone will not eradicate ISIS because
its strength lies in its ideology. She is particularly against bombing because of two reasons:
first of all it creates resentment against the West in the Middle East. Michael M. Gunter who
11
Omer Aziz, `What ISIS really is', New
Republic (Jan., 2017) Omer Aziz is a J.D. candidate at Yale
Law School. He recently worked for the U.N. Special Envoy to Syria.
12
Graeme Wood, `What ISIS really wants', The
Atlantic (Mar., 2015) Graeme Charles Arthur Wood,
an esteemed journalist who has written for The New Yorker, The American Scholar, The New
Republic, Bloomberg Businessweek, Culture+Travel, The Wall Street Journal and the International
Herald Tribune.
13
Aziz, What
ISIS really is
14
Wood, What
ISIS really wants
15
quote of a propaganda of ISIS mentioned in Wood, What
ISIS really wants
16
Wood, What
ISIS really wants
17
Wood, What
ISIS really wants
18
Zoe Savellos, `Military Action Against ISIS is Only a Fraction of the Solution', (Jan., 2016) Zoe
Savellos has a Bachelor's Degree from Stanford University and is currently working for World Bank
Group, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford Political Journal
6

Elise Rehbein
wrote the article "Why can't we defeat ISIS?" also criticises bombing and agrees with
Savellos that there have been "reports of collateral damage involving Sunni Arabs hit by
American bombs". Savellos second reason is that even if ISIS would be erased, there
19
would be other extremist organisations that would establish themselves. So she believes
that the environment and causes of the development of ISIS have to be solved to defeat
ISIS. Both agree on the point that the "seemingly mad violence and power of ISIS is largely a
symptom of the collapsed state system." "A solution would require sociological, political,
20
and economic answers as well as military ones (..)" Zoe Savellos thinks that it is crucial to
21
look at how ISIS was able to get such a large domestic base and to understand why ISIS
gets so many local recruits. Her answer is that ISIS gives an "outlet" for the anger that
22
amassed itself over decades against governments or other power structures in countries in
which muslims are oppressed and it gives a "sense of belonging" to the recruits. People
23
with no plan for the future, who search for their purpose of life and don't have any stability in
life are easy targets. That's why the situations of these people have to be changed. Savellos
is convinced that it is impossible to eradicate ISIS or other extremism "without reconstructing
the political society in either Iraq or Syria" and "allowing political and social participation of
24
marginalized Muslims across the world." She agrees with Ryan B. Greer and Amir
25
Bagherpour who wrote the article "To Defeat ISIS, Cooperation Is Key" that the actual
26
problem lies in the political conflicts of the Middle East which created a ripe environment for
extremism. Both believe that only a regional resolution can change this situation. Greer and
Bagherpour say that "without a solution to those political problems, it is unlikely that local
communities will rise up to help police arrest ISIS members or that potential ISIS recruits will
choose nonviolence instead." Their main statement is that ISIS can only be defeated by a
27
Coalition because "the international community's core strength in truly defeating terrorist
19
Michael M. Gunter, `Why can't we defeat ISIS?', Hurst
(Oct., 2014) Michael M. Gunter is a
professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University and an authority on Kurds in
Turkey and Iraq and has written seven books on the Kurdish struggle.
20
Gunter, Why
can't we defeat ISIS?
21
Gunter, Why
can't we defeat ISIS?
22
Savellos, Military
Action Against ISIS is Only a Fraction of the Solution
23
Savellos, Military
Action Against ISIS is Only a Fraction of the Solution
24
Savellos, Military
Action Against ISIS is Only a Fraction of the Solution
25
Savellos, Military
Action Against ISIS is Only a Fraction of the Solution
26
Ryan B. Greer and Amir Bagherpour, `To Defeat ISIS, Cooperation Is Key', Foreign
Affairs (Apr.,
2017) Ryan B. Geer is a Fellow at New America and a Security Fellow with the Truman National
Security Project. Amir Bagherpour serves as Chief Analytics Officer at Global Impact Strategies
(giStrat) and a Nonresident Scholar at the University of Virginia's Batten School of Leadership and
Public Policy. The authors previously served together at the U.S. Department of State, working on
policies and strategies to counter ISIS.
27
Greer and Bagherpour, To
Defeat ISIS, Cooperation Is Key
7
Excerpt out of 20 pages

Details

Title
Does the West want to defeat ISIS? And if so, can it?
Author
Year
2017
Pages
20
Catalog Number
V375528
ISBN (eBook)
9783668528918
ISBN (Book)
9783668528925
File size
552 KB
Language
English
Tags
IS Terror USA Russland
Quote paper
Élise Rehbein (Author), 2017, Does the West want to defeat ISIS? And if so, can it?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/375528

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