Defeating ISIS requires genuinely collective effort and total commitment

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
Defeating ISIS requires genuinely collective effort and total commitment
The rise of the ISIS terrorist group in Syria and Iraq poses a threat not only to the Middle East, but to the rest of the world as well.

A collective effort freed from the narrow-sighted egoistically-driven policies of some actors is required to battle the militants.

The current crisis in Iraq is a clear indication that arbitrary outside interference does not create democracy or promote human rights but leads to chaos and destruction. Chaos provokes extremism and terrorism. And it's no fault but misfortune of the Iraqi and Syrian governments, who are forced to engage in a life-and-death fight against international terrorists.

American actions in Iraq, according to Washington, are now coordinated with Baghdad. But as is known, the very same jihadists have been committing atrocities for over two years in neighboring Syria. Currently, the US is considering the same kind of operations there. This is a very delicate issue, for it touches upon the country’s sovereignty. Such operations must necessarily be agreed with the Syrian authorities, and we hope that Washington in its further actions on the Syrian track will be guided by international law.

It would be useful to remember that it was the West that wasted time and did not take any action to counter the influx of radical Islamists into Syria. It was a narrow-minded politicized approach, which resulted in the “chicken-come-home-to-roost” phenomenon. This is exactly what has contributed to the situation that we are facing now. At that time, we warned of the dangers of indulging extremists. If the international community had supported the armed struggle, where the Syrian army has taken the lead against ISIS militants, this threat could have been contained.

It’s worth mentioning that some British analysts and politicians are now beginning to look at this issue in a different way and are coming to the conclusion that it won’t be possible to find a solution to this problem without joining efforts with the Syrian Government. This alone speaks volumes. This problem requires a clear-cut focus, total commtment with no distractions whatsoever.

The international community must unite in the face of international terrorism and deal with it robustly, without dividing terrorists into “good ones” and “bad ones.” Such an attitude has no prospects. For its part, Russia strongly supports the Iraqi and Syrian governments’ fight against terrorism. And does not do so only in words – by supplying the Iraqi authorities with sophisticated weaponry, including Su-25 ground attack jet fighters.

The fact that the UN Security Council has recently adopted decisions aimed at suppression of ISIS activities in Iraq and Syria indicates that it has started to dawn upon our Western partners that we are in a long game. We welcome this change of attitude and will continue to contribute to the development of a collective response to ISIS and other terrorist groups in order to restore peace and security in the region.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.