Current Counterterrorism Plan Won’t Stop the Latest Jihadist Threat
While the current debate in Washington is focused on whether to term ISIS a radical Islamic group, Audrey Kurth Cronin argues in Foreign Policy that ISIS is not a terrorist group at all and for that reason, the counterterrorism strategies that were useful against al Qaeda won’t work in the fight against ISIS.
Cronin says that ISIS may use terror as a tactic, they, unlike al Qaeada, have the goal of controlling territory and creating a “pure” Sunni Islamist state governed by a brutal interpretation of sharia law.
If the West is to mount a successful campaign against them, they will need to adjust their strategy to one of “offensive containment,” which Cronin describes as “a combination of limited military tactics and a broad diplomatic strategy to halt ISIS’ expansion, isolate the group, and degrade its capabilities.”
Does The Middle East Need Democracy?
The Arab Spring was to set off a democratic wave across the Middle East and remains a stated goal of Western leaders, but David Harsanyi of The Federalist believes democracy is the last thing it needs right now.
“Democracy can’t work now. Three reasons why: 1. In a open political environment, extremists will always be willing to resort to violence to grab power. 2. Institutions tasked with protecting society from that extremism will no longer be “democratic” once they react. 3. The populace doesn’t have any real desire for a secular democracy, anyway,” he writes.
China Increases Building In Disputed Across Spratly Islands
This week new satellite imagery analyzed by IHS Jane’s has identified evidence of increased construction by China across the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
The extent of the development along the various reefs is visually noticeable in aerial photographs obtained by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The new evidence of China’s activity on the disputed reefs has governments in the region concerned and is raising fears that Beijing is attempting to establish a foothold to support its contentious claims to islands.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose said this week that the government is “seriously concerned” about China’s reclamation work.
“And we have noted that China’s construction [on] these features is plainly intended to change the character, the status and maritime entitlements of these features,” he explained. “And we have strongly urged China to desist from the reclamation work that they’re doing,” reports Voice of America News.
The development also has officials in Washington unnerved about the potential threat from rising Chinese presence in the region. Foreign Policy magazine reports that the Navy’s top officer said this week that he is considering stationing U.S. warships in Australia, in addition to several new warships slated to be deployed to Singapore beginning in 2017.