ISIS-first strategy doomed to fail

Image: De verwoestingen in Aleppo na een aanval met vatenbommen, 6 februari 2014. Foto © Freedom House / CC

December 4, 2015

Towards a realistic strategy to combat ISIS in Syria. ‘ISIS-first strategy’ doomed to fail, as it is ineffective, counterproductive and unrealistic. This is what peace organisation PAX says in its Syria Alert XVI which was brought out December 3, 2015.

In the aftermath of the 13 November Paris attacks, several countries involved in the Coalition against ISIS are reconsidering their strategy towards ISIS in Syria. France has increased its bombing campaign on ISIS in Syria while UK and several other European countries are considering whether or not they should do the same. Acknowledging that ISIS is a real threat to civilians in the Middle East, in the West, and especially in Syria and Iraq, PAX asserts that ISIS is not so much the cause but rather the result of the conflict in Syria. The real root of this conflict is the Assad regime’s ruthlessly violent response to the Syrian people’s call for dignity and freedom, and its enabling of the rise of ISIS and other radical groups.

In this Syria Alert PAX sets out how an ‘ISIS-first strategy’ which addresses the symptom – ISIS – and leaves the cause – Assad – to be addressed later, will prove ineffective because it is counterproductive and unsustainable. PAX believes that a military strategy to combat ISIS is only realistic if it is part of a coherent policy to build an alternative inclusive governance arrangement based on a political process laid out in the Vienna declaration. 

Syria Alert Issue XVI: Towards a realistic strategy to combat ISIS in Syria

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