After the terror attacks in Paris, French President François Hollande said ISIS committed an “act of war.” But what kind of act of war was it, exactly? Is it the kind of act of war that requires Russia and the West to unite to stop the growing ISIS threat?
The Australian, citing The Times, notes that the United States is now being pressured by world leaders to abandon its idea that Islamic State can be “contained and downgraded.” France, for its part, wants to join efforts with both the U.S. and Russia to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has intensified his military campaign in Syria as a retaliation for the downing of the Russian plane on October 31, when 224 people died, mostly Russians. The U.K., an important player in the U.S.-led coalition, is likely to support a broader military campaign against the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.
The Australian newspaper outlines four scenarios to find the ultimate solution to ending the ISIS threat. First of all, NATO could come up with a military plan in Syria and Iraq. Experts believe that ISIS could be easily defeated if ground troops could accompany airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition.
The pros of such a scenario is that NATO would be the sole determinant of Syria’s future, not Putin. Moreover, it would prompt Turkey to focus on ISIS militants rather than on Kurds. And it would be more effective than any coalition with Arab countries.
But the cons are obvious: Russia’s opposition to such a plan, growing protests in NATO countries when the Alliance’s soldiers are killed by ISIS and splits between NATO states.
Peace deal is not a solution
Second of all, western and Arab states could form a coalition with Russia, while Putin would persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to order the Syrian army to focus on ISIS, not on U.S.-backed rebels.
According to The Australian, it is the best chance of regaining control over Raqqa, which is ISIS’ de facto capital. The disadvantages is that Assad would stay in Raqqa for a long time, while the siege of Raqqa by the Syrian army would be chaotic in its nature, targeting both ISIS militants and civilians.
Third of all, the U.S. could intensify its airstrikes in Syria, accompanying them by drone attacks and special forces. The U.S. would also arm moderate Sunni anti-Assad forces. But the newspaper notes that this scenarios could take way too long to eradicate ISIS.
And finally: a peace deal between Assad and the opposition. The danger of such a scenario is that amid the escalation of military action against ISIS, the military operation of the West could be weakened in the efforts to keep Russia on side. But “in the confusion, ISIS survives to fight on,” The Australian noted, citing The Times.
France wants to join forces with Russia and U.S. to eradicate ISIS
Meanwhile, Hollande said Monday that he is ready to join forces with Russia and the U.S. to eradicate ISIS after the terrorist attacks that took place in the French capital and left 129 people dead and more than 350 injured.
“I will call both Obama and Putin to unite our efforts and seek a solution,” Hollande told French lawmakers, as reported by New York Post.
Hollande’s idea to join forces with Moscow and Washington is to create “a union of all who can fight this terrorist army in a single coalition,” calling the planned eradication of ISIS “a result that has been too long in coming.”
At a meeting of both houses of Parliament at the Palace of Versailles, Hollande promised to present a bill on Wednesday to extend the current state of emergency in France, imposed after the terror attacks on Friday, by three months.
Hollande also said he will step up spending on security, claiming that France would hire 5,000 more policemen, add 2,500 posts to the Ministry of Justice and hire 1,000 additional customs agents.
“We will eradicate terrorism so that France may continue to lead the way, because French citizens want to continue to live without fear,” Hollande said.
ISIS promises to attack Russia in video footage
But how many countries are actually interested in eradicating terrorism, and particularly the threat that comes from ISIS? At the G20 summit that currently takes place in Turkey, Putin said he has shared Russian intelligence data on Islamic State financing with his G20 colleagues.
Putin says ISIS terrorists have been financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states. He did not specify which countries have been financing the terrorist group.
In the course of the summit, “I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them,” Putin told the journalists, as reported by RT.
Putin also urged world leaders to put an end to the illegal oil trade by ISIS. “I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products,” he said.
The Russian President also said that Russia is ready to support armed opposition in Syria in its efforts to eradicate Islamic State.
However, Russia itself could become the target of ISIS terror acts in the nearest future. According to the Christian Today, ISIS released a video footage on Saturday, promising to attack Russia “very soon” and specifically threatening to “make their [Russians’] wives concubines and their children slaves.’”
The video was released just a day after the Paris attacks and nearly two weeks after ISIS affiliate Sinai Province claimed responsibility for bringing down a Russian plane on October 31, killing 224 people.