We must take the fight to ISIS’ doorstep

ISIS and other extremist groups continue to capture the world media headlines pushing horrific mass murders out of sight and out of mind. ISIS’ cruelty and barbaric acts are desperate attempts to attract attention and spread fear. They mask the terror group’s substantive expansion and drive us to ignore real crimes committed by sitting tyrants.

World-class murderers and mobs are engaged in mass killings, uprooting and intimidation while those who can act and make a difference are too busy reacting aimlessly to ISIS’ drama.

The result is a knee-jerk reaction, a show of force that appeases emotions and distracts from the real problems at hand. It allows criminals to get away with their murders, or worse, plan and execute new ones.

The timing of the air raids on ISIS positions and execution of al-Qaeda prisoners do not show signs of a planned operation with a clear aim and objectives

Octavia Nasr

The Jordanian reaction to the burning alive to its pilot was predictable and in many ways welcome. But the timing of the air raids on ISIS positions and execution of al-Qaeda prisoners do not show signs of a planned operation with a clear aim and objectives.

Shuttle diplomacy

The renewed shuttle diplomacy that ensued could potentially lead somewhere if genuine and not simply another emotional reaction. From Europe, we heard about efforts to strengthen Iraq’s sovereignty while emphasizing the Kurdish role for a possible lasting solution to usher in stability for Iraq and the region. This would have been a positive sign if we did not have the failing examples of western inaction or badly timed actions to take into account such as in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt.

On the Syrian front, where the ISIS threat is most urgent, the recent U.S. rhetoric is disappointing as it dropped the original demand that “Assad must go,” to suggest a more inclusive scenario of power-sharing between Assad and Syrian opposition. There does not seem to be a plan for the millions of refugees scattered around the region, nor a clear plan to defeat ISIS.

Reading between the shadows of busy bodies hopping on planes and serving diplomatic jargon to a media corps still in a deep coma, it seems that the west is desperately looking for a temporary solution. Maybe even a simple mending of its battered image.

While ISIS distracts us with theatrics, tyrants run amok to keep their clout, and the majority oblivious individuals among us think they are removed and safe.

If the fight is not taken to ISIS directly, fierce, door-to-door, and costly, the nightmare of the so-called Islamic Caliphate will soon be a reality on the ground and it will threaten everyone without exception.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on February 10, 2015.


Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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