Gone are the days when diseases used to be the biggest scare in the world. HIV/AIDS and viral infections such as Ebola would give governments and citizens sleepless nights, hoping that their borders were not porous to let an infected person cross over to their safe land and transmit the deadly disease. But now there is an even deadly and horrific global threat: terrorism. Radicalization and Extremism have seen terrorism rise from tiny cells in small communities into global networks that unite criminals in a common bond of committing atrocities behind the veil of religion and warped beliefs. The United States and its allies including France, Kenya and others have witnessed the loss of innocent lives and wanton destruction of property at the hands of terrorists. Nations across the globe have teamed up efforts to combat this threat, and this led to the successful destruction of some of the most prolific terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda. Remnants of other terrorist networks have however regrouped and have become a major threat in the global arena. ISIS is one such terror network that has been causing havoc in the global arena, killing innocent civilians and destroying properties worth billions of dollars. It is for this reason that the United States government and its allies have taken some bold steps in a bid to annihilate this global threat. For this goal to be achieved, the tactics employed in fighting global terrorism should be effective("How ISIS Can Be Defeated").
In the article, How to Defeat ISIS (Newsweek), the writer argues that the tactics deployed by the current US administration in combating the menace are ineffective, and there is therefore a need for them to be reviewed. The current policy adopted in dealing with terrorism entails limited air strikes as well as the United States support for anti-terrorist units in both Iraq and Syria where these terror groups have set their bases. The government hopes that by so doing they will eventually destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. None of these steps however seem to stop the spread of ISIS activities in Iraqi provinces as well as in the northern parts of Syria. If the government is serious about the issue of containing ISIS and by extension other terrorist cells, it surely needs to improve its commitment to the cause more than it is currently involved. Given that the September 11 memories are still afresh in the minds of Americans, minimalist efforts towards containing such threat will not be taken lightly. Families of the victims and all US citizens at large need assurance that they will be safe within the confines of their land and thus any threat imposed on their security ought to be dealt with commensurate seriousness(Boot).
Based on the article, the United States should aim at neutralizing the ISIS, not degrading it as insufficient or having overambitious plans of completely destroying it, which might not be realistic at the moment. Reducing the terrorist group into a tiny cell that has limited reach and threat potent should be the main aim of the government, just as it did with Al Qaeda. There is newfound hope that ISIS can be destroyed as does not well organized as compared to other terrorist cells such as Hezbollah and Taliban, which have state backing. ISIS however presents an even bigger threat to the United States and its allies as its members are drawn from different countries and they might inflict considerable damage to their homelands. This gives a window of hope that the terror cell can be successfully crushed but still presents a challenge to authorities to be vigilant in ensuring that their citizens are not radicalized and influenced to join this terror network.
To win the war, there is a need for the United States to intensify air strikes on ISIS-controlled territories. So far there have been restrained bombings by the US military as compared to the Taliban and Al Qaeda invasion after the September 11 attacks. It took a total of 75 days for the US troops and its allies to dethrone the Taliban in 2001, in which a total of 6,500 air strikes were conducted, and 17,500 munitions dropped. The ISIS war has however seen a reduced intensity as only a total of 632 air strikes and 1,700 munitions have been dropped in the ISIS war during a 76-day period in the year 2014. This clearly indicates that there is the apparent lack of seriousness from the government, and it might take considerably longer to defeat the insurgents.
The incumbent administration has imposed certain restrictions on U.S Special Forces and air controllers to merge with local troops in ISIS territories such as the Free Syrian Army, the Iraqi forces and the Suni tribes who are opposed to ISIS domination. In the Taliban war of 2001, U.S troops and its allies would work hand in hand with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to fight a common enemy. This limits the effectiveness of air strikes as there is no reliable source on the ground to coordinate air strikes, limiting the combat capacity of the troops. Experience has shown the effectiveness of combat troops united with indigenous groups as opposed to isolated trainers confined to their army bases.
The number of troops currently deployed to combat the ISIS threat is desperately limited. The current number of troops deployed totals 2,900. However, the estimated number of troops required to effectively suppress the activities of the insurgents range from 11,000 to 25,000 according to a former commander and military analysts(Boot). This contingent should comprise of intelligence teams, Special Forces teams, logistical support teams as well as security teams that work with indigenous troops.
Mobilization of the Suni tribes in Syria and Iraq will go a long way in destabilizing the ISIS structure. As long as these tribes keep offering their support to the ISIS or showing any form of resistance, any hope of completely crushing these criminals will be very thin. If however these tribes switch their allegiance and oppose ISIS, as had happened in the Al Qaeda war in 2007, the war with ISIS will easily be won. Rallying the Iraqi Sunnis against ISIS will however not be a walk in the park as they feel that the U.S betrayed them by abandoning them under the rule of Shiite Muslims in Baghdad after the surge. To allay their fears, the United States can offer to assist and advise to the Sunnis that will keep them from Kurdish invasion.
There are however fears by critics that these tactics will place the United States on a potential ground war in the Middle East. There is the danger of the U.S troops sustaining injuries and possible casualties, not to mention the huge cost associated with this endeavor. The taxpayers would part with $10 billion, being the cost of dispatching ten thousand troops in a year. If these fears are heeded, there is a high likelihood that ISIS will advance its operations to other territories including Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, further presenting a major threat to world peace(Boot).
Terrorism poses a major threat to world peace and prosperity. There is strong evidence from the article to show that there is apparent laxity in dealing with the danger posed by ISIS, as well as the valid reservations and fears of the costs associated with committing to the war. However, considering the potential harm presented with unchecked ISIS, it is important that serious thought and review of the current policies should be undertaken.
Boot, Max. "Defeating ISIS". Council on Foreign Relations. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 July 2016.
"How ISIS Can Be Defeated". Newsweek. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 July 2016.
"University Writing Center - Rhetorical Analysis". Writingcenter.tamu.edu. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 July 2016.
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