In the summer of 2014, citizens in Northern Iraq were displaced, especially those of different minorities, and the Yazidis in particular were murdered or enslaved. ISIS now appears to be engaged in, among other things, threatening the Druze community in Syria in a similar manner.
Dutch peace organisation PAX brought out a policy brief in which they cite the three conditions for success in the battle against ISIS.
PAX harbours major concerns about whether these conditions in the battle against ISIS are being met.
1. Embedding the military strategy in a political strategy
2. A credible strategy to protect citizens
3. Minimising the risks to the civilian population presented by ant-ISIS bombardments and the actions of local allies
PAX has repeatedly pointed out in policy briefs and more recently in the After ISIS report the need for a political strategy because the potential for renewed conflict remains alarmingly high.
Another recommendation is to motivate Western governments to participate in the battle against ISIS, pointing out the ‘serious violations of basic human rights in Iraq and Syria’ by ISIS. The grounds for taking part in the battle against ISIS also lose credibility if no efforts are made to expressly ascertain the conditions under which and the manner in which targeted air strikes, including with the use of barrel bombs, by Syrian government forces on the Syrian people can be brought to an end.
Lastly anti-ISIS battles should minimise the risk to the civilian population. Avoid the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas. The international coalition lacks a clear monitoring system of civilian victims, like that set up for ISAF’s military operations in Afghanistan: Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell (CCTC). Preventing civilian casualties is not only a moral duty; it also prevents the military operations reinforcing the breeding ground for ISIS. Prevent acts of vengeance against citizens once areas controlled by ISIS are recaptured. For example, in Iraq the Iraqi army, the Kurdish Peshmerga or Shiite militia must not present as great a threat to the Sunni civilian population as ISIS does to religious and ethnic minorities.
Read the press release of After ISIS here