ISIL must be defeated

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has control over most of the territory in Iraq and Syria inhabited by Sunni Arabs, does not distinguish itself only with atrocities committed against local enemies. It has escalated to indiscriminate, out-of-area killings.
The most recent examples are the bombs that went off during an election rally of the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Diyarbakir on June 5, the suicide attacks in the southeastern town of Suruandc on July 20 and in Ankara on Oct. 10, all in Turkey, followed by the Russian passenger plane that was blown up in the air on Nov. 2, and the string of attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris on Nov. 12 and 13. There is no doubt that ISIL targets humanity and basic human values before all else. It is possible to engage in talks with other political groups that resort to terrorism, but not with ISIL, which aims at nothing short of domination of the entire Muslim world by force. ISIL must be defeated and punished for the atrocities it is committing. The global community acting collectively surely can achieve this, and Turkey must decisively take part in this effort.
It is necessary, however, that we are fully aware of what we are confronted with in the fight against ISIL. ISIL is no gang of murderers composed of psychopaths and maniacs. It surely is a by-product of the rage among Muslims in reaction to various interventions by Western powers in their lands, to former US President George W. Bushand’s bombing Iraq and”into the Stone Age,and” and to the tyranny of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It surely is also a by-product of the competition in fundamentalism, fanaticism and atrocities among various radical Islamist groups born out of that rage, best exemplified by the rivalry between ISIL and al-Qaeda. The rage that triggered ISIL affects not only the Sunnis of Iraq and Syria, but the entire Sunni world, including those who live in the West, and particularly among youths who feel despised, discriminated against and excluded. The evidence is those many thousands who join forces with ISIL, either in its heartland or wherever they find themselves.
It is possible to defeat ISIL, but there are issues that particularly the Western powers taking part in the international coalition against it should not for a moment neglect to consider if ISIL is not to be replaced by another of its like. Global injustices are, unfortunately, too visible, as the mass refugee movements from the Middle East and Africa to Europe indicate. One part of the world cannot expect to live in peace and prosperity while another part is submerged in war and poverty. The alarm bells are ringing that the status quo is not sustainable, that global injustices as well as injustices within nations need to somehow be addressed. If the distinction between ordinary Muslims and radical Islamists is not carefully maintained, the world can never achieve peace and harmony. The recent ISIL atrocities in Paris were clearly aimed mainly at creating animosity among the natives against Muslim immigrants.
Turkey is perhaps the country that is threatened most by ISIL, which aims to abolish all borders between Sunni-majority countries and to re-establish a caliphate. There are issues those who govern Turkey cannot afford to ignore. It might have been different yesterday, but today, ISIL has become the main security threat for Turkey, considering also the many local ISIL cells that have been discovered within the country. As for all countries, it is imperative for Turkey too to identify and isolate the main security threat to it. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in charge says, however, that it is fighting all terrorist organizations at once, including imaginary ones, and that it regards the Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK), which is fighting against ISIL, as a bigger threat. Following the suicide bombings in Ankara on Oct. 10 that killed 102 civilians, government spokespersons, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and acting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu claimed that it was an act of and”cocktail terrorism,and” meaning the combined effort of various terrorist organizations, including both ISIL and the PKK. No matter that the General Security Directorate soon after declared that the evidence available indicated that the terror attacks in Diyarbakir, Suruandc and Ankara were all perpetrated by ISIL alone.


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