- ISIS retreats but terror threat remains
Oct 24, 2017-
The liberation last week of Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Marawi, its Philippine stronghold, is a triumph, but one marked by lingering shadows. The world was taken by surprise earlier when terrorist groups in both cases seized territory and proved to be very hard to dislodge. Five aspects of the conflicts should be pondered. First, have national military organisations learnt from these lessons? Second, people that fell under the control of terrorists suffered unspeakable cruelty. That must be reiterated to counter ISIS recruitment efforts. Third, even though the recapture of terrain from terrorists makes the world safer, it also puts it more at risk. Terror groups will now revert to ad-hoc terror attacks and have a supply of battle-hardened militants to strike at soft targets worldwide, including those in this region. Fourth, having had a taste of functioning as a state, ISIS will not quietly fade away. In swathes of Iraq and Syria, it governed sizeable territory, instituted a legal system that underpinned its political ends, raised taxes to finance an army, and dealt with states as if it were one itself. The Marawi uprising replicated ISIS strategy in a restive area. That means others could also find themselves staring at the same fate if old wounds are allowed to fester. Fifth, both Raqqa and Marawi bear witness to the destructive intentions of terror groups, whatever their religious pretensions. The cities reflect the physical and social rubble of occupation by the worst organised vandals of modern civilisation. All that terrorists have touched have been turned into ruins. The world must remain on guard.
Published: 24-10-2017 08:03