A Grand Alliance to Neutralise IS

In New Indian Express, Nov.20/15
(Wiping out the IS or containing it is the crying need of the times. If this can be done by military action and bombing is a very debatable issue. More debatable is the moral issue. An eye for an eye will turn this world into aworld of the blind. Use of blind force will only scatter the Islamic state all over the world to become hundred small terrorist groups to wreak vengeance on the present attackers. That the big powers are drawn together to work together alone is the good outcome. Instead of resorting to the use of force they should work out a civilized way of changing rude, crude and brutal ways of the IS to make this planet a safer place to live. It can be done only enlightening the minds first of the attackers, then of the attacked. james kottoor, editor)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s admission that the downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt, which claimed 224 lives, was the handiwork of the Islamic State (IS) could not have come without much forethought. It could be part of his grand strategy — in the wake of the Paris attacks — to regain the confidence of the US and much of Europe in his leadership since Russia’s armed intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. The recent G-20 Summit too has proved beyond a shadow of doubt that Putin is no longer a pariah and as such, he believes Western Europe and the US cannot afford to ignore him as they are increasingly caught in the vortex of a war against the IS. Does this mean a Grand Alliance against the IS is in the offing? French President François Hollande is set to meet Putin and US President Barack Obama next week to pitch for the same.
But if statements of American leaders are anything to go by, it appears the Obama administration is still unconvinced. Obama has once again made it clear that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go if the Syrian civil war has to end. His Secretary of State John Kerry has reasoned that the war wouldn’t end even if a deal was made with Putin for Assad to remain in power for some more time. With Putin insisting on a role for Assad and the Americans wary of aligning with him, it seems, despite the massacre in Paris, the world powers are just as divided as before vis-a-vis the IS.
There is, however, a growing realisation that the IS is the enemy number one and not an easy target at that. The group has proved to be as flexible and amoeba-like as it is apocalyptic and brutal. It has to be fought on all fronts — from the air, land and if need be, the sea. And, most importantly, in the cyber world. The war against the IS should be as much ideological as physical. In all this, the West needs Putin’s support. To dismiss his overtures as efforts to gain legitimacy for his geo-political ambitions wouldn’t be wise. More so, since the US strategy against the IS has been a disaster to say the least. This is the time for the civilised world to unite and fight, not to dither. Because, the IS is as dangerous as Hitler’s Nazism and calls for the same resolve that was shown to stamp out the latter.

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