Uzi Arad Professor, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel The American Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action drew attention to the fact that of the dozen contingencies classified as high priority (in terms of the harm that they could cause), two-thirds are related to events unfolding or ongoing in the Middle East.
Furthermore, ISIL operates massively and effectively in cyber space and it is often through social media that it harvests support in radical circles in Europe. Moreover, its large territorial base means that it is indeed a terrorist group of a different order and magnitude.
and social media to distribute large quantities of often sophisticated online propaganda intended to radicalise and recruit large numbers of people in the Middle East and beyond.
ISIL and work towards the goal of defeating it before it metastasises further.
There are three other Middle East-related challenges of importance to Europe. First, engaging Indeed, the international influence of ISIL beyond and containing Iran – so as to see it comply with the Middle East is most menacing. The attacks the nuclear accord it reached with the P5+1 and in Paris or the shootcurtail its support of ings in San Bernardino terrorism in other ‘To adequately confront ISIL, blunt are just two examples parts of the Middle its advance in Syria, Iraq, Libya, of ISIL’s capability to East such as Hizbullah inspire jihadists across in Lebanon. and curtail its influence elsewhere, the world. Against it is essential that a united front is Second, bringing orthis background, the British conclusion is formed, which pools its resources and der to Syria, Iraq, and Libya is also imthat ‘the significant capabilities, to undertake a campaign portant, so as to rethreat posed by terrorist groups makes it that employs extensive power projection, establish stability and peace in these warall the more important as well as new tactics and means.’ ring areas. that we invest to tackle this issue head-on at Third, pursuing an Israeli-Palestinian peace home and abroad using the full spectrum of our through a restored international process with capabilities.’ greater regional Arab participation and aiming at a solution for ‘two states for two peoples’. To adequately confront ISIL, blunt its advance in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and curtail its influence All these entail international efforts, mostly dipelsewhere, it is essential that a united front is lomatic, political, and economic, but not necesformed, which pools its resources and capabilisarily military ones. It is, however, the mission ties, to undertake a campaign that employs exto degrade and defeat ISIL (as defined by US tensive power projection, as well as new means President Obama), which is not only the most and tactics. The immediate task should be to urgent, but also the most demanding task in degrade ISIL in the Middle East and reverse its terms of concerted military cooperation and acadvances in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. tion among members of the Atlantic alliance. It should be viewed as the highest strategic priorHowever, down the line this will also call for acity for the EU, too. tion beyond the Middle East and for the use of a variety of ways to stop the organisation’s funding, decapitate its leadership, disrupt its international operational connections, and to fully defeat its military forces. Thus far, the US, several European countries, and others have been actively engaged in this effort, primarily through air strikes in Iraq and Syria. But it is essential to do more to roll back