A welcome attack on ISIS

A welcome attack on ISIS

By THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN | 15 April, 2017

The history of the USSR shows what happens when a great power fails to make use of the weapons in its armoury in order to take on and overwhelm its enemies. Had the USSR used even a fraction of its military power against any of the numerous bases of the Mujahideen in Pakistan, the flow of fighters and materiel that arrived in Afghanistan from Pakistan would have been slowed down. Given a more intensive attack on targets inside Pakistan, it is certain that the Soviet armed forces had the ability to reverse the defeats that the USSR military was facing in the crucial theatre of Afghanistan. However, successive Soviet leaders lacked the will to make use of a greater range of armed power available to the regime in Moscow, with the consequence that a steady diminution of the effectiveness of the USSR took place, until in the beginning of the 1990s, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union imploded with the merest of whimpers. No great power in history has ever fallen quite as completely and as suddenly as the Soviet Union did, and the reluctance of the CPSU to more fully deploy the options available at that time to them against the deadly enemies counts as a warning to other great powers, most notably the United States. That country has been losing its soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001 and despite the passage of time, is still gasping for breath against an enemy composed entirely of irregulars. Of course, as in the 1980s against the USSR, this time around as well the armed fighters now battling US forces have assistance from Pakistan. Each year the US lavishes hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars in Pakistan, feeding the very military that assists its enemies to kill, maim and thwart US soldiers. How many more casualties at the hands of the Pakistan-backed fighters will it take to convince Washington that the military in Pakistan is not the solution, but is the creator of the problem of terrorism facing the world? It is a disgrace, to take a single example of many, that ISIS still controls the whole of Raqqa in Syria and much of Mosul in Iraq, when US forces have more than enough munitions to destroy ISIS positions in both these cities and indeed countries.

While President Barack Obama was aware of the dangers facing US and allied interests from ISIS, his reflective and cautious spirit  prevented him from taking out ISIS in the ruthless way that he fulfilled a task that George W. Bush failed to do, which was to complete the job so far as Osama bin Laden was concerned. Despite big talk that very often veered off to pure bluster, President Bush left his job with the security threats to both his country and the globe still worse than when he began his “War on Terror”. In Afghanistan, Bush failed dismally, with the Taliban once again being empowered to take over vast tracts of territory because of mistakes made by military planners functioning under their commander-in-chief, George W. Bush. Candidate Donald John Trump promised change and results, no matter how deadly the method, and it must be admitted that in Afghanistan, he has finally delivered. A US military that had groaned and chafed under the severe constraints placed on its operations by President Obama, has finally been given much greater freedom to operate by Trump. As a consequence, the largest, most effective non-nuclear bomb in the armoury of the US military has been deployed against the fast-expanding operations of ISIS in Afghanistan, a neighbour of both India as and Pakistan. The bomb destroyed a complex of tunnels and storehouses that served as a logistics hub for ISIS. Hopefully, the MOAB attack on the ISIS complex in Afghanistan will not be an isolated incident, but will mark the beginning of a new phase in the war against ISIS, a stage in which the democracies will use what power is needed in order to ensure that victory finally arrives in theatres where terrorists have for too long been able to control huge swathes of land and people. The horrors inflicted by groups such as the Taliban and ISIS on the peoples they enslaved are a smudge on the conscience of the democratic world. By holding back on necessary action, all that is being done is to perpetuate evil. What is needed is to end the scourge of terrorism as soon as circumstances and capabilities allow, and the use of the world’s most effective non-nuclear bomb on the worst terror group ever to emerge, is a start. What is needed is to carry forward the same logic to Iraq and Syria, both countries where ISIS has dug itself in and needs to be eliminated. In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been robust in his responses to terrorism, both domestic and foreign. In Donald Trump, Narendra Modi appears to have found a partner with the same decisive mentality that he has. Citizens in both countries look forward to decisive action against terror groups, so that the threat posed to humanity by this cancer gets reduced from the present levels.


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