ISIS is “a network, a movement and an organization” that is a geopolitical, economic and humanitarian menace to the world. According to Mr. Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations what is needed to fight ISIS is a multinational Arab and Muslim military force on the ground.
Mr. Haass’ hypothetical force would include Jordan, the Saudis, the Turks, and the UAE, along with Sunni Arab leaders.
Peggy Noonan writes here how, in order to achieve this, the U.S. would have to use its diplomatic and financial muscle “to lead, push, press, promise and cajole” to make ISIS the weak horse and bring together the Sunni Arab world.
What to do? Mr. [Richard] Haass echoes Mr. [James] Baker. “Attacking ISIS from the air is necessary but not sufficient. You need ground forces to seize areas ISIS holds. You need a ground partner.”
That partner should be “a multinational Arab-led expeditionary force—a force on the ground to take territory. It needs to be Arab and it needs to be Sunni, because you need to fight fire with fire.” It is crucial, he says, that Sunni Arab leaders demonstrate it is legitimate to stand up to ISIS.
Haass includes in a hypothetical force Jordan, the Saudis, the UAE, and “others—Egypt too. Even Turkey. . . . That’s what you need, politically as much as militarily. Unless that happens we don’t have a viable strategy.”
He agrees the U.S. should help with intelligence, training and special forces as well as air power. Also needed: “a digital strategy that stresses that ISIS’ behavior contravenes tenets of Islam and means misery for those they dominate.”
So—move to kill the Islamic State’s mystique. Give them a fight, make them the weak horse, and do everything to bring together the Sunni Arab world to do it.
Is this possible? Can it be done? Mr. Haass said it is “a long shot” but “not inconceivable.” Moreover, “it’s the conversation we should be having. We should make answering this question the priority.”
The U.S. would have to lead, push, press, promise and cajole. It would have to use diplomatic and financial muscle. But it would be doing so with allies increasingly alive to the threat ISIS constitutes not only to the world, but to them.
And it is a plan. Who has a better one?
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