Solutions to end ISIL extremism in Mideast

Solutions to end ISIL extremism in Mideast
Tue Sep 2, 2014 07:28:22

Three months after the advance of ISIL terrorist group and its allies in northern and central Iraq, government forces are now gaining ground in the fight against Takfiri militants.

When ISIL overrun large swaths of the country in June, some Iraqi groups, including the Kurds and Sunnis who have problems with the Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, refused to take strong action against the terrorists and thought that their attacks are limited to the Shias. Even some Kurdish groups have called for a referendum on independence for the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government from the central government.

But when ISIL expanded its attacks to other cities and ethnic groups, the leaders of minority groups understood that ISIL is posing an existential threat to all ethnic groups in Iraq including the Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Yezidi and others.

The first Iraqi figure who understood the real threat of the Takfiri terrorists and called the people to arms against them was Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Following his fatwa, thousands of Iraqi volunteers rushed to military bases to join the army in the fight against ISIL.

Following ISIL atrocities against different Iraqi minorities, all Iraqi leaders are now aware of the ISIL threat and are united against the Takfiri group. The Iraqi groups decided first of all to settle their political differences by electing the new president, prime minister and parliament speaker to then go after the terrorists.

Children hold palcards during a demonstration mainly by Izadi refugees in support of their community in Iraq, on August 20, 2014 in Angers, western France.

The unity is bearing fruit. In recent days, Iraqi army, backed by Kurdish Peshmerga and volunteer forces, have checked the advance of ISIL and pressed a fight-back against the militants. The army has succeeded in breaking the 11-week siege of the town of Amerli—the biggest success for the Iraqi government since the militants overran much the north and west of Iraq. Iraqi forces kept up the momentum of their advance, retaking Sulaiman Bek, a town north of Amerli that had been an important ISIL stronghold.

Iraqi leaders know well that unity is the key to ending the militancy in the country and settling political divisions. Outside Iraq, Iran also took a wise stance by supporting a political solution for the process of prime ministerial election and backing the central and Kurdish governments against ISIL.

Iran’s stance encouraged other states to back the Iraqis by condemning militants’ crimes and also sending military and humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Even recently a senior US official called for global alliance against ISIL despite the fact that Washington has been supporting the militants in neighboring Syria since 2011.

The West and Arab nations are getting to understand that the crises in Iraq and Syria will backfire on them as militants return to the countries they came from, including those in Europe and Arab states. Therefore after the unity in Iraq, other states also should be united to put an end to terrorism and sectarianism in the Middle East.

By Davood Baqeri, the chief editor

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