Wider strategy needed to deal with terrorists

The war on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has figured high on the agenda of conferences and meetings all over the world

Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi
Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi
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The war on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has figured high on the agenda of conferences and meetings all over the world. It is almost as if the world has suddenly discovered a newfound secret and is unifying their ranks to fight a new enemy that has surfaced abruptly.

A regional conference is being held in Jeddah today with the participation of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in order to build a coalition against ISIS. The coalition is likely to include more than 40 countries and may continue for years.

The issue remains a mystery to many, who continue to wonder what the ISIS entity is and where it came from. Of course, conspiracy theories are the first things that come to mind. Some claim that ISIS is a U.S. creation, while others blame Iran and a third camp believes it was created by the Syrian regime to keep attention away from the uprising.

ISIS has been mobilizing support by raising the slogan of a so-called Islamic caliphate

Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi

ISIS has been mobilizing support by raising the slogan of a so-called Islamic caliphate. They also used the seal of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on their flags to lure young Muslims into fighting.

The ISIS terror group raises more questions than answers. Instead of using its strength to oust the Syrian regime, they have been battling other fighters in the region. The entity even moved to Iraq and fought Kurds, the Iraqi government and neighboring countries.

The group, which lacks good leaders, has confused illusion with reality. They take religious texts out of context and exploit Quranic verses and Prophetic sayings to suit their rhetoric and delusions. Thousands of people from different countries became their victims, following them into an abyss with no return.

The Jeddah meeting shows the seriousness of the world in confronting the cancer of terrorist movements. Muslims are the major victims of this movement and they have been paying a heavy price. Statistics have proven that the majority of their victims are, in fact, Muslim.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah recently warned world leaders that terrorism would reach Europe and the U.S. if they did not make combined efforts to destroy it now.

No doubt that ISIS will be defeated

There is no doubt that ISIS will be defeated. The issue is that terrorism will not end with the destruction of ISIS because new terror groups are likely to emerge after this war thanks to regional sectarian strife.

This demands a wider strategy to deal with extremist groups that use terrorism to achieve their goals.

We should know that there are many other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq most of them have the same agenda. Developing an anti-terror strategy is not the responsibility of a single country. U.S. President Obama has indicated that he has no clear strategy to combat ISIS, which has provoked anguish inside and outside America. ISIS, in fact, poses a big threat to U.S. national security.

The new situation demands the creation of unified strategy to fight terrorism. If the world has felt the importance of fighting ISIS, the question is how they are going to handle the root cause of terrorism.

This demands greater efforts to contain terrorist thought and the reasoning behind it.

The idea of leaving terrorists to fight each other has been proven a failure. Big powers have been watching what has been happening in Syria and Iraq and ignored these events, thinking they would not affect them.

They later learned that hundreds of their citizens had joined terrorist groups, only to become time bombs when they return to their countries.

ISIS has created big confusion in the region. It has turned the attention of the whole world. The Jeddah meeting will give the message that terrorism has no religion or nationality and joint global efforts are required to fight terrorism and they should treat the reasons before tackling the symptoms.

This article was first published in Arab News on September 11, 2014.


Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi is the editor-in-chief of Sayidaty and al-Jamila magazines. A prominent journalist who worked with Asharq al-Awsat in London and Arab News in KSA, al-Harthi later moved on to establish al-Eqtisadiah newspaper in KSA, in which he rose the position of Editorial Manager. He was appointed editor-in-chief for Arajol magazine in 1997. He won the Gulf Excellence award in 1992.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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