ISIL is a global threat but it is a bigger threat to the Middle East than to U.S. homeland. It is a bigger threat to Muslims than to Americans because, until now, the absolute majority of victims are Muslims. The U.S. could be part of a coalition that should combat ISIL but it should not take the lead. Saudi Arabia should take the lead in fighting ISIL because Saudi Arabia helped create it in the first place. The ideology and practices of ISIL are derived from the brand of a religious tradition called Salafi Wahhabism that was founded in Saudi Arabia and promoted by Saudi preachers under the patronage of the Saudi ruling family. Therefore, the fight against ISIL is Saudi Arabia’s and the rulers of Saudi Arabia must be forced to take the lead in this war.
|The link: Like ISIL, Saudi Arabia sanctions public beheading
The war on ISIL as outlined by President Obama is ill-conceived and will be poorly executed. A war on ISIL led by U.S. and Western countries will create sympathy to ISIL, weaken legitimate governments and international institutions, and create more chaos in an unstable region.
If the U.S. military bombs ISIL in Syria without the consent of the government there and provide more political and military support to armed opposition groups in that country, it will foster the idea that the U.S. is taking side in a sectarian, ethnic, and regional war. Bypassing the Syrian government to fight ISIL will create more ISILs.
This war cannot be just a war on ISIL, it must be a war on all ISILs, in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and wherever they exist. In other words, this war ought to be a war on genocidal ideologies like ISIL’s, Nusra’s, and many other armed groups in Syria. ISIL, like al-Qaeda before it, is a Saudi freaky invention and the Saudi rulers must be held responsible for combating it now. The Saudis should form an alliance with Qatar, Turkey, and takfiri preachers whom the rulers of the kingdom allowed to proselytize on satellite televisions to uproot it militarily and ideologically. The rest of the world should only offer assistance—not lead.
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. His most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.