Saturday October 25, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Terror is the Islamic State's strength – and its downfall

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants on the front line in Khazer on August 8.

By Nikos Konstandaras

The Islamic State's leaders are very clever, employing terror as their principal weapon. But their consecutive conquests, and the ease with which they took over large parts of Syria and Iraq, have driven them into the trap of arrogance – they forced their enemies to unite, they provoked the reaction of powerful forces which had avoided tangling with them. Their greatest contribution is that they are forcing the region's people and the greater powers to take a morally clear stand against them: the slaughter of prisoners and civilians, the pogroms against Christians, Shiites and Yezidis, the destruction of the region's cultural heritage, demand the immediate and absolute eradication of this threat.

The tragic results of the US-British invasion of Iraq in 2003, along with the chronic instability of Afghanistan, have made President Barack Obama loath to use military might. In the one exception – Libya – we need to remember that Washington's decision to intervene, along with other NATO members, was taken on March 18, 2011, a month after the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi had begun, and only when he was about to smash rebel forces. “It's over... We are coming tonight,” Gaddafi declared in a radio and television broadcast a day earlier. “We will show no mercy or pity.” Until then, the United States had been wary of getting involved. An appeal by the Arab League, pressure from France and Britain, and the threat of an impending massacre of rebels prompted NATO's bombardment of government forces, leading to Gaddafi's fall and death.

What followed in Libya – including US Ambassador Chris Stevens's murder and the chronic instability that plagues the country – contributed toward America's avoiding involvement in Syria, even after the regime was accused of using chemical weapons. However, the threat of intervention had the positive effect of getting the Syrian government to agree to hand over its chemical weapons for destruction. The United States and other western countries stayed out of Syria, as the country was carved up into regions controlled by the government and by rebel forces, including the extremists of the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS).

In June, ISIS fighters stormed Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, murdered soldiers that they had captured, drove out the Christians and began destroying ancient monuments and the shrines of Shiites, Christians and others. Even though the international community worried, no country wanted to get involved – beside sending military advisers to Iraq (as the United States and its traditional rival Iran did). Also, both Washington and Tehran put pressure on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step aside in favor of someone who could unite the country's Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in government. Maliki, a Shiite, has refused. Meanwhile, the Kurds extended their autonomous region in northern Iraq, taking control of the oil-rich region of Kirkuk, which they have always regarded as an integral part of their homeland. This provoked further enmity between Baghdad and the Kurdish government in Erbil.

In the matrix of ethnic, national and religious differences, in the delicate balance of power and influence between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, any foreign intervention in favor of either the Iraqi government or the Kurds could set off a chain reaction with unpredictable results. But the Islamic State fighters made sure the deadlock would break. After erasing part of the border between Syria and Iraq they declared a new Caliphate; then, over the past week, they took over towns and villages populated by Christians, Kurds and members of the Yezidi religion. They murdered people, destroyed temples and terrorized the members of these ancient communities, forcing them to run for their lives. With their heavy weapons, the Islamic State fighters forced Kurdish troops to retreat, took over Mosul Dam and came within striking distance of Erbil. An estimated 40,000 Yezidis took to the mountains, where they were trying to survive without shelter, without food, without water.

By now, the fear of unforeseen consequences of military intervention could no longer excuse the lack of action – reality was worse than the worst possible scenario. The Iraqi government and the Kurds were forced to cooperate militarily, Saudi Arabia promised a billion dollars in aid for the Lebanese army when Islamic State fighters took over a Lebanese town. President Obama, invoking the danger of genocide, gave the green light for humanitarian aid to northern Iraq and for air strikes against positions of the Islamic State. If the people of the region come together and, with American air support, the Islamic State is defeated, perhaps the various countries and minorities will have a new chance to see relations between them in a new light - now that they have seen hell's gates gaping.

ekathimerini.com , Saturday August 9, 2014 (19:17)  
Tension for tension’s sake?
Testing ground
Defusing a crisis
PM needs to step up
Athens, Nicosia satisfied by EU leaders´ stance toward Ankara
A reference in Friday’s European Council conclusions calling on Turkey to respect Cyprus’s sovereign rights left Athens and Nicosia content with the outcome of the European Union leaders’ su...
Suspended policeman chief suspect in cousin’s murder
A 27-year-old police officer who has been suspended from duty since 2013 for extortion, is being treated as the chief suspect in a murder committed in a suburb of Piraeus on Thursday. Police...
Inside News
TAIPED waits for green light from Eurostat
Eurostat has frozen the securitization of properties that the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) had been planning. The project, drafted to bring some 400 million euros into t...
Trade deficit shrinks on big drop in imports
Greece’s trade deficit shrank 29.5 percent year-on-year in August as a result of the considerable 16.3 percent decline in imports, Hellenic Statistical Authority figures revealed on Friday. ...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
A win is a win is a win for Olympiakos
A bad Olympiakos defeated a worse Laboral Kutxa 63-57 to make it two out of two in the Euroleague on Friday. In a game where the two teams had an overall field goal rate of about one in thre...
SOCCER
Panathinaikos snatches point at Eindhoven
Panathinaikos offered its fans a glimpse of its glorious past in European competitions snatching a draw at PSV Eindhoven, on an otherwise bad night for Greek soccer in the Europa League, as ...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. A win is a win is a win for Olympiakos
2. TAIPED waits for green light from Eurostat
3. Trade deficit shrinks on big drop in imports
4. SMEs unable to claim subsidies
5. Taxes kept growing in second quarter
6. Thessaloniki Port expects 2014 to be record year
more news
Today
This Week
1. Woman killed in tram accident in Floisvo, south of Athens
2. Clocks to go back 1 hour on Sunday
3. Venizelos slams Turkey for 'flagrant violation of international law' off Cyprus
4. ECB vies for third time lucky in European stress tests
5. ECB bank assessment to show 6-billion-euro capital gap, Citi says
6. Cyprus GDP upgrade seen as boosting bailout exit plans
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Greece’s closed society is central to its current malaise
3. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
4. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
5. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
6. Samaras’s crumbling Greek exit lacks backing from economists
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.