Muftic: The fallout of ISIS radical movements |

Muftic: The fallout of ISIS radical movements

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

The attacks in Paris by ISIS terrorists and the downing of a Russian airliner could be game changers, but what will be the game? What changed Friday the 13th was the realization that ISIS was not a localized land grab and a fight between them and other Muslims that did not share their ideology, but their radical movement had gone global. They were now a threat to homelands from Russia to Turkey to Western Europe to the US. It was also clear that the failure of intelligence services was profound and the terrorists had figured a way to communicate in secret.

The G20 summit taking place in Turkey, as this column is being written, will be extremely revealing of any definitive change in attitudes of Russia and Turkey, who so far have not given priority to taking action against ISIS. It is also an opportunity for Pres. Obama to take the lead in organizing action, at least so far as our Arab allies and NATO are concerned. Whatever we do, we should not make threats we cannot back up. We have done too much of that already.

What now? The fallout will be profound on global realignment and alliances based on convenience or sympathy. Already there have been changes in attitude expressed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, who came to an agreement for a road map for a political settlement in Syria. While all the players have their own national agendas, it is clear that none of their agendas can succeed so long as ISIS remains a force.

The fallout will also impact the US race for president. The real danger is that the hawks in the Republican party may beat war drums to strike out against ISIS with the same strategy and tactics that we know have failed in the past, massive troops invading and occupying the region. On the other hand, some in the GOP such as Jeb Bush advocate mostly doing more of what the administration is already doing..

The worst reaction from the West would to condemn and create more fear of all Muslims. ISIS fighters are motivated by an ideology that rationalizes the killing of innocents. It is a small sect of Islam and the most numbers of the victims of their barbarism have been Muslims. It is also in their ideology that this conflict is a religious war and it is a tool to recruit followers disaffected with their host country the more it appears that it is. Anti-Islam sentiment is exactly what they hope happens. It is a way to self-fulfill their prophecy and it is a “make my day” approach. Hawks should not fall into their trap on the battlefield or in politics. Unfortunately right wing media has already begun to gin up more anti-Islam sentiment in the US. Those who advocate only allowing Syrian Christian refugees to enter the US are feeding that perception.

What was especially disturbing about the Paris attacks was the failure of intelligence services. The line I heard in defense of the intelligence operatives was that they did not have the resources and manpower to shadow those they had already identified as radicalized and returnees from ISIS training camps, much less screen the refugees flooding into Europe. So why not fund that ability now, at least.

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