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Must the West attack ISIS in Syria?

Reader comment on item: ISIS' Imminent Demise

Submitted by myth (Germany), Dec 12, 2015 at 05:35

Must the West attack ISIS in Syria? Do I understand Dr Pipes right? The article states that ISIS can be beaten but does not recommend the West to actually attack because Iran's nuclear program sets the priority.

At least that would be my argumentation. I see three reasons for the West to ignore ISIS militarily:

  1. Iran's potential nuclear threat has priority over all other security issues. If the West attacks ISIS it buys Iran time to complete its nuclear programme in the shadow of such operations. Public support will at best endorse either an attack on ISIS or on Iran, but not both.
  2. ISIS operates in Syria and this is the Russian influence zone. Any attack on ISIS by the West allows Russia to direct their fire on other groups. Likewise the western air-strikes on ISIS allow Turkey to attack Kurdish forces rather than ISIS. As both Russia's and Turkey's capacities are quite limtied compared to the US they will and have to make those choices. In other words: Western attacks on ISIS indirectly hurt potential allies in the region.Leave ISIS to Russia and wait!
  3. Attacks on ISIS divert public attention from the threat inside Western countries. I recall that after the Paris attacks the French authorities boasted they had earmarked most suspects "Fiche S". However they obviously did not do anything about them but follow them. Same goes for the San Bernadino bunch, the Boston brothers and on and on. I see no point putting infantry into Syria and let terrorists operate at will and under the protection of the law on Western soil. Germany has crossed the one million mark of refugees in 2016. Germany could and should deport the thousand or so known islamists who have been residents for years. On the balance this would not hurt the overall image of hospitality.
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Daniel Pipes replies:

I do not encourage a Western attack on ISIS. If there is to be a Western attack, it should be on the Iranian nuclear facilities.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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