While cache of computers, cell phones, and documents that was captured during the raid will provide important information about ISIS financial operations in Iraq and Syria and possibly on its support of its branches in North Africa, South-East Asia and beyond. But this will not stop ISIS. What would?
Certainly not supplying new arms to the failing Iraqi army that flees and leaves its American weapons behind when ISIS fighters show up, as they have done repeatedly and most recently in Ramadi.
Increasing U.S. its weapons supply to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters would help. But allowing Iranian trained and armed Shiite militias to “liberate” Ramadi or other cities in the Sunni Triangle, would only increase the sectarian violence.
Killing of as many of ISIS leaders and destroying their strongholds in Iraq and Syria is necessary, as is the efforts to curtail their financial operations. But it will do little to stop ISIS¹s expansion into North and West Africa, South East Asia and beyond.
The physical destruction of ISIS’s operatives would contribute to discrediting their declared mission, i.e., creating a Caliphate. But to stop the growing influence and radicalization of ISIS affiliates and other Sunni and Shi’ite jihadi groups, an urgent reform, i.e. separating the mosque from the government is needed.
Egypt¹s President Fatah el-Sisi¹s calls for separating the religion of Islam from the political system, and outlawing the movement of Political Islam and its promoters, the Muslim Brotherhood, did not gain much traction in the Muslim world.
Strangely, it did not gain the much support in Western countries either. Despite fighting radical Muslim terror groups in their own countries, autocratic Gulf State leaders prefer to view such movements as a domestic problem, especially the Saudis who rule with their own version of radical Islam, Wahhabism. While they send their military to fight the Houthis in Yemen, they are reluctant to send troops to fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Instead, they call for greater American intervention. A request the Americans are not willing to fulfil.
Who could offer a way out?
The Pope, the most influential Western religious leader has denounced ISIS’s barbaric executions of Christians, But he also seeks “intensified dialogue” with the Muslims. Mimicking President Obama¹s 2009 Inaugural call for a dialogue based “on mutual interest and mutual respect” with the Muslims, Pope Francis, since the beginning of his papacy in March 2013, has repeatedly called to understand Islam.
Could the Pope offer a way out by serving as the go-between and ISIS and the White House? After all, he just recognized the terrorist Palestinian State and called its leader who oversaw the harassment and murder of Christians and Jews: “An Angel.”
Obama refusal to denounce Political Islam and its ushers, the Muslim Brotherhood. His desire to “talk with one’s enemy” has been demonstrated in his Iran initiative and in legitimizing the anti-American Cuban Communist regime.
Since both leaders are willing to deal with terrorists, and with the Cuba initiative under his robe, the Pope may find a way to convince the peace-at-any-price-loving Obama to add another laurel to his Nobel brow, either by negotiating with ISIS, or allowing Iran to take over Iraq and Syria.
Either option would advance radical Islamist power and prove impossible to change when a new freedom-loving American president is elected.