More than 600 Iraqis have been killed in terrorist attacks so far this year. The number of victims of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in both countries runs into the thousands. This does not make the international community tremble. Internet users do not change their profile pictures to show support for those suffering. No one brings flowers to embassies, or rallies to pay tribute. Facebook does not launch its safety alert function.
By calling the Paris massacre “an attack on the civilized world,” U.S. President Barack Obama has split the world into two pieces: one important and privileged, the other doomed to suffer and die. Thus we are ready to fight in Syria until the last Syrian, as they are not from the civilized world.
France has shown readiness to cooperate with Russia, and has called for a global coalition with Russian participation.Maria Dubovikova
Far-right parties are strengthened by acts of terror in Europe, as more people are ready to see a terrorist in each Muslim. Xenophobia and Islamophobia rise, aggravating an already complex situation in Western countries. The West blames Islam and Muslims, not taking into account that the roots of the ongoing mess are in the West itself.
The roots come directly from the colonial era, and have been strengthened by global powers using the Muslim world as a chess board for their geopolitical games. Al-Qaeda was established following U.S. support for jihadist fighters against the foolish Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. ISIS appeared not due to the bloody Syrian regime, as we are used to hearing, but following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Paris attacks have changed the strategy of the international community. France has shown readiness to cooperate with Russia, and has called for a global coalition with Russian participation. For the first time, the United States has started to target ISIS’s economic infrastructure.
After the Paris attacks and the G20 summit, Russia announced that its plane that crashed over the Sinai was brought down by an explosion on board. Following this news, Moscow has doubled airstrikes in Syria.
All these new efforts, together with a chance to end the Syrian conflict, give hopes that ISIS will be destroyed in Syria and then Iraq. However, even ISIS’s destruction does not guarantee stability and security. The extremist and jihadist menace will continue to prevail worldwide, but will fade if strategies are developed to promote civil and religious education in the Middle East.
All these efforts against ISIS could have been undertaken long ago. This could have saved 131 precious lives in Paris, and the Russian plane could have landed in Saint-Petersburg with happy tourists returning from Egypt. Hundreds or even thousands of lives could have been saved in the Middle East.
Maria Dubovikova is a President of IMESClub and CEO of MEPFoundation. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations [University] of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia), now she is a PhD Candidate there. Her research fields are in Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, Euro-Arab dialogue, policy in France and the U.S. towards the Mediterranean, France-Russia bilateral relations, humanitarian cooperation and open diplomacy. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme
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