I need to talk about the Spread of Isis throughout the Middle East. Is the current response to ISIS by free countries in the East and West adequate? What would you support in terms of a global...

I need to talk about the Spread of Isis throughout the Middle East.

Is the current response to ISIS by free countries in the East and West adequate? What would you support in terms of a global military response? Should it be containment through a combination of air strikes and training of the Peshmerga ground forces? Or should American forces lead on the ground offensive?

Which of these arguments do you support and talk about why you support that particular method of preventing the spread of ISIS by using different evidences.

Asked on by jayson94

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The answer to this is largely a matter of opinion.  If we knew for certain how to keep ISIS from spreading, there would be less disagreement on the topic.  As it is, different people have different views on this topic and their views are often colored by their political leanings.

My own view is that the best approach to prevent ISIS from spreading is to try to stabilize the countries of the Middle East.  ISIS would probably not be able to continue to spread if countries were stable.  We can see that the countries in which ISIS is strong are the countries that are experiencing significant degrees of chaos.  In particular, ISIS has been strong in Syria, which is in the midst of a horrific civil war, and Iraq, which is still very unstable.  ISIS has not made nearly as many inroads in countries that have stable governments .  This would imply that we should be trying to help stabilize governments around the region.

Many people would argue that we need to have a strong military response.  I do not agree with this.  Our experience from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 shows that we have a very hard time putting enough military power into a country to keep insurgencies from starting up.  If we simply invade Syria and/or re-invade the parts of Iraq that ISIS holds, we would probably be setting ourselves up for another quagmire like we faced in Iraq.  In addition, recent events show that our intervention would not necessarily be welcomed even by those we were trying to help.  Recently, Iraqi Shiites reportedly refused to fight ISIS when we used air strikes to help them.  They did not want to fight on the side of the US.  In other words, if we go in with military force, we might be alienating the people who are already resisting ISIS. 

If we have to have a military response to ISIS, I would support the idea of air and logistical help for indigenous forces who are going to fight ISIS.  In the Kurdish area of Iraq, this would be the Peshmerga.  In Syria and the rest of Iraq, it is less clear who we would help.  As I have already mentioned, Iraqi Shiites are not particularly friendly to the US and might not want to cooperate with us.  In Syria, it is hard for us to know who to support as we clearly do not want to support the Assad government which is fighting ISIS.  However, in theory, the best idea is for us to support local forces that are already motivated to fight ISIS.

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ebeavers10's profile pic

ebeavers10 | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

ISIS is a creation of the US invasion of Iraq. One cannot understand ISIS without understanding the sectarian division created by the US invasion. Prior to the invasion, Sunnis and Shiites were largely integrated. They intermarried and many did not even know if others were Sunni or Shiite. With the US invasion came General Order Number One which largely made Sunnis government officials and military personnel unemployed. Imagine if Russia invaded the US and decided that the Republicans had been the problem and they could no longer follow their career choices. 

With this and the Shiite majority taking control of both the government and the military, Sunni officials, military officers, average military personnel, formed ISIS. This problem cannot be fixed if we do not first understand why the US went into Iraq, in whose interest did the US invade Iraq, and what is the plan of the US in the larger Middle East. This takes an understanding of history - a good place to start is the Grand Area Strategy articulated at the end of World War I. 

So, can the US be of help. It depends on who we mean by the "US." With the current domestic distribution of power, I would hesitate to believe "we" will help. Perhaps the United Nations could be a deterrent to US power. The UN at least represent domestic power in all member states. But, I do not think there is a military solution to this conflict. These forces are not going away. Those that care must find a way to deal with WHY these folks are joining Isis and find a way to meet their real needs.

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