Friday, July 07, 2017

The last days of DA'ESH

One of the most evil and bloodthirsty regimes in recent history - a strong contender to be considered the worst since the fall of the Hitler's Nazis in 1945 - is about to lose the last of its territory.

On 4th July America's allies in Syria who have been laying siege to Racca, the capital of the self-styled "Islamic State" caliphate known in the region by the Arabic acronym "DA'ESH" breached the walls of the old city.

Meanwhile in Mosul, the second city in Iraq which had been occupied by DA'ESH in June 2014 but has been gradually recaptured over the last few months, all but a few alleys are now back in government hands.

The recapture of DA'ESH territory in Iraq and Syria will shortly make it untenable for the organisation to sustain its claim to be a "caliphate" which all Muslims are supposed to give allegiance to, because one of the conditions for a caliphate laid down in the Islamic sacred writings is to be in control of an area of territory.

Not that most Muslims ever did or would give allegiance to DA'ESH, as the vast majority of Muslims do not agree that this death cult represents their religion at all.

This is why so many people have rightly refused to use terms like "Islamic State" to describe DA'ESH without a "so-called" in front of it, because if you admit that the organisation is both Islamic and a state, let alone recognise their claim to be a caliphate, you are inadvertently supporting their propaganda claim that Muslims have a duty to travel there and fight for them.

But unfortunately although most Muslims, reject this argument, some radicalised Muslims fell into the trap and went to the Middle East to support DA'ESH. Many of those people have died in the fighting, and we can hope that at least some of the survivors may have come to realise what a ghastly perversion of their religion the Jihadist ideology is. Unfortunately the rest of the survivors will be dangerous for a long-time to come. DA'ESH's self-styled caliphate may be coming to an end but Jihadist terrorism is not.

Civilised countries must play the long game in working to defeat the forces of extremism and help the people of Syria and Iraq - and other nations damaged by forces loyal to or allied with DA'ESH such as Boko Haram in Africa - to rebuild.

This drone footage uploaded to YouTube by CNN shows had dreadful the devastation of areas which have suffered first occupation by DA'ESH and then being fought over has been.

There is a powerful and depressing piece in the Economist here about how much needs to be done to repair the damage DA'ESH has wrought in the areas it controlled, and the danger that the world may fail to do enough. For everyone's sake I hope they are wrong about that and that the world can rise to meet that challenge.

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