‘Foreign intervention by the US or any other country to fight ISIS will not work’
The Islamic State has recently widened its threats, issuing a video warning to Russia. In the clip one of the militants addresses Russian President Putin directly, promising to unleash war in Chechnya, in the south of Russia. The Chechen leader was fast to issue a strong response to the video, while no reaction came from Moscow.
RT:Does Russia really have to worry about this?
Ivan Eland: Probably not much. I am not sure that the US is much either right now; this is a regional threat that is confined to Syria, Iraq and perhaps a part of Lebanon. You have to have a Sunni population that has been radicalized to some extent, to provide shelter for the fighters, and the reason that they are getting so much shelter in Iraq is because the Shiite government had been oppressing the Sunnis. As for Iraq it would be decentralized with the Shiite government no longer oppressing the Sunnis and they are allowed to run their own affairs, they would probably do what they did with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to this group, and that is kick them out using force of arms.
So I think this threat is contained right now, I’m not sure that bombing from the air is going to really have much effect. What you need is boots on the ground for the counter-insurgency, but in this case I wouldn’t recommend boots on the ground from Russia or the United States. I would say what you need is to rely on local people to the extent that you can, on neighboring countries because when other countries who are perceived as foreign interlopers or occupiers, they almost get no credit with the population, and therefore, they are not very effective in countering insurgency. We have seen this in Afghanistan with the US, we saw it before with the Soviets in Afghanistan, and we also saw it with the US in Iraq, not very effective there. So I think you need to train up local fighters, which takes a long time. There is going to be no quick solution to this problem, but certainly foreign intervention by the US or any other country that is not in the region will not work. You would have to have perhaps intervention by Turkey or Jordan or Saudi Arabia or Iran to defeat the ISIS forces.
RT:The Islamic State has specifically addressed President Putin. We have heard a strong reaction from the Chechen leader, but do you expect any response from the Kremlin?
IE: I would advise Mr. Putin to not do that. You are not fighting terrorism if you are fighting it publicly; you have to do this in the shadow with special forces, intelligence forces, law enforcement forces. If you fight it publicly, rhetorically or with actual bombing like the US is doing in Iraq, you are really not getting anywhere and you are probably creating many more fighters than you are killing.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.