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A coalition of 40 countries to fight ISIS

It seems that the entire world has teamed up to wage war against one of the smallest terrorist organizations: ISIS

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

It seems that the entire world has teamed up to wage war against one of the smallest terrorist organizations: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But is ISIS really worth a broad international coalition of 40 countries?

In my opinion, ISIS itself does not require but a few local forces on the ground, working in tandem with the United States to hunt down the organization and eradicate it. Such a force will succeed in destroying ISIS. But terrorism, in general, requires the collaboration of a hundred countries to encircle it and rid the world of it. This includes ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, Boko Haram in Mali, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, al-Qaeda in Yemen and other extremist organizations in the Sinai Peninsula, sub-Saharan Africa and even the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines.

The international community could benefit from the understanding and cooperation of Arab and Islamic countries for the sake of fighting terrorist organizations

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

At this point, the world can claim that its cooperation has led to a distinct job that will find support from Muslims everywhere. The crimes committed by ISIS sparked Muslim anger towards terrorist organizations more so than we’ve ever seen before. In the past, al-Qaeda succeeded in splitting Muslim opinion and lured some support by raising the issue of confronting the Israeli occupation and defending oppressed Muslims. ISIS has forced Muslim public opinion to gang up against it. Muslims are stunned by the scale of the crimes it has committed against civilians in both Syria and Iraq.

Understanding and cooperation

The international community could benefit from the understanding and cooperation of Arab and Islamic countries for the sake of fighting terrorist organizations. This support could help achieve optimal results in eradicating terrorism everywhere, not just in Iraq and Syria.

Broadening the war against ISIS will set the standard for the next ten years regarding how the international community deals with such groups.

ISIS is not the only target, however. There should be no place in our world for Libya’s Ansar al-Sharia, Egypt’s al-Tahweed and al-Jihad, and others of their kind. They should be besieged with laws that deny their funding and military aid should be provided to fund their eradication. Previously, we called it al-Qaeda, but today such organizations are operating under different labels. The truth is that ISIS is nothing but al-Qaeda, the same goes for the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham. If the world is eager to fight terrorism, it is better to combat the organization as a whole, not just the ISIS branch of it.

Limiting the international coalition to fighting ISIS alone will achieve a smaller target. It will definitely succeed in ridding the world of one evil group, but the issue will raise its head at a later date. For example, when terrorist organizations in Mali or Nigeria dare to behead Western citizens, what will the world do to them or the dozens of remaining terrorist groups?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on September 12, 2014.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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