With no political solution on offer, ISIS mission is doomed to fail

8 June 2015

With no political solution on offer, ISIS mission is doomed to fail

Foto: SP

In the absence of a political solution, the military mission in Iraq is doomed to fail, according to SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk in response to what he observed on his two-day visit to the Dutch armed forces in Iraq and Jordan. ‘The Netherlands’ efforts offer no solution to the enormous problems in Iraq,’ he insists. ‘This must first and foremost address the structural exclusion of Sunnis from political power. As long as Sunnis don’t have the full influence they should enjoy, military deployment is pointless. Furthermore, the western military presence increases the chances of renewed violence against Europe and the United States.’

Since last year the Netherlands has been participating in the international coalition against ISIS, contributing eight F16 fighter-bomber planes which are used to bomb ISIS targets, and the training of Iraqi special forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighting in the country’s north.

The coalition against ISIS was begun by President Obama with the aim of achieving its complete ‘destruction’. Apart from the practical impossibility of this goal, what’s also lacking is any long term political strategy. There is no plan for the reconciliation of Iraq’s three major population groups: the Shi’ites, the Sunni and the Kurds. Were ISIS to be successfully driven from Iraq, the chances are that the continuing strife between Shi’ite and Sunni would intensify. ‘In that sense the coalition’s air attacks are like dropping bombs on a powder keg,’ says Van Dijk. ‘The US caused ISIS’s rise and is once again waging war in Iraq, a hopeless fight resulting in countless victims.’

On 5th June Van Dijk visited the air force base in Jordan from which Dutch F16s fly bombing missions to attack ISIS targets. On 6th June he was in Erbil in northern Iraq where the Dutch army is training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in programmes which last eighteen days.

The SP opposes the war against ISIS because it offers absolutely no prospect of a political solution. The rise of ISIS was in part caused by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. From that moment on the Sunnis have been excluded from political power, with the current Iraqi government being dominated by Shi’ites. Western military support for Baghdad gives a government already favourable to the Shi’ites little reason to hand more power to the Sunni people.

In Iraq a number of different groups are fighting against ISIS. First of all there is the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga, both supported by coalition air strikes. In addition, Shi’ite militias are active, supported to a greater or lesser extent by Iran.

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