Tikrit RPG

For Al-Jazeera, I argue that, to bring meaningful progress against the so-called Islamic State, the ‘spring offensive’ in Iraq must serve a broader political strategy.

  • The very recent histories of both Iraq and Syria suggest that the solution to a political crisis cannot be military
  • It is important, therefore, that the agents who attempt to retake ISIL territory do so in the name of a reformed, inclusive central government, and as part of a clear long-term plan to construct government legitimacy
  • Shia militia must be brought to heel.  Sectarian atrocities, horrific in and of themselves, at the same time ensure that, for every step forward on the battlefield, the Iraqi government takes two steps back in the war
  • The Iraq war impacted on the nature of jihadism itself: Both participation in the Iraqi insurgency and the tactical alliance with former Baathist officials drove ISIL and its predecessor groups to approach jihadism as a state-building enterprise
  • In dealing with the bitter harvest of the Iraq invasion, any ongoing and future use of force must realistically further a comprehensive political strategy for an inclusive Iraq. Otherwise, Iraq will remain prey to the tyranny, indeed tragedy, of the unintended consequences of military action