War against ISIS: Defeat or a win?



 By Aamina Khan.


Syrian war has emerged as the worst nightmare of 21st century. In an address to the UN Human Rights Council, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein described the war in Syria as “the worst man-made disaster since World War II”. Now it’s been six years that the war is going on which has killed almost half a million people and according to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research, this war has resulted into the displacement of half of the country’s prewar population, huge territory has been seized by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and given birth to the worst humanitarian crisis of this epoch. Moreover, All International diplomatic efforts have proved to be futile to bring peace in war torn region.

The UN estimates the war has pushed close to five million people to flee the country, many of whom have risked their lives seeking sanctuary in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of others have to live precariously in tents and tin shelters in Syria’s neighboring countries. An entire generation of Syrian children has either been pushed out of school or forced to cope with interrupted curriculums, makeshift classrooms, or unqualified teachers. According to UNICEF, 2016 was the worst year yet for Syrian children. Nearly three million children – the UN estimated amount of Syrians born since the crisis began – know nothing but war. The country’s healthcare system, particularly in places like Aleppo, is decimated. More than four-fifths of the country lives in poverty. Basic infrastructure, such as the electricity grid, water lines and roads, is in shambles. As of 2015, 83 percent of Syria’s electric grid was out of service, according to a coalition of 130 non-governmental organizations.

One of the major reasons behind all these catastrophes in Syria is a war against ISIS. World community aims to defeat ISIS and fighting with the group in Syria and Iraq. Recent reports of media say that ISIS is facing serious setback these days. The war has reached to the Mosul, where its self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr Baghdadi made an appearance. US backed Iraqi forces are fighting successfully and had killed various leaders and soldiers of ISIS. There are various reports that many militants and even their self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr Baghdadi had fled from the area. Nevertheless all these air bombings are killing hundreds of civilians as well which has given birth to new kind of humanitarian crisis.

Certainly, ISIS is on decline in Syria and Iraq. But the question arises are we really wining this war against ISIS? As terrorist activities of ISIS are going on successfully in every region which illustrates its strong footing.  Recently on March 22, 2017, the parliament of United Kingdom came under the terrorist attack and its responsibility had been claimed by ISIS within 24 hours after a man driving an SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge near the Parliament building which shows the power which ISIS is still enjoying. Moreover the activities of ISIS are going on across the regions of Asia and Africa. On February 25, 2017, a suicide attack in a popular shrine in southern Pakistan has killed at least 75 people and its responsibility has been claimed by ISIS which shows its strength in Khorasan region. Similarly, the network of ISIS has wide spread throughout Asia, Europe and Africa and successfully taking advantage of loopholes in security situation of various less developed states.

In this scenario, defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq would be a first step towards conflict resolution. But defeat of ISIS only in Iraq and Syria is not an assurance of global peace due to its wide spread and resilient global network. Conquering only territory must not be the only goal rather narrative needs to be defeated efficaciously. A counter narrative to defeat the ideology of terrorism is inevitable for long-term success. For this purpose, all stakeholders should come forward with efficient response and strategies without involving their inter-conflicts and competitions. An efficient and an effective policy needed to be adopted by international community to deal with this global menace

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