Monday, 8 September 2014

Never mind Assad, we might have to treat with al-Baghdadi

Clearly, the Islamic State's grandiose expansion must be curbed and we must hope that he abandons his proselytisation by the sword, but this piece by Mariam Karouny in last Saturday's Independent shows how Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has restored civil order and some prosperity to the areas of Syria and Iraq under his control. It will not happen soon, but the price of iState's genocide may not seem higher than that of the Israel Defence Force when it comes to ensuring stability and security of its citizens. The US in particular, given that its ally Saudi Arabia has been supporting Sunnis in Iraq and Syria, may just tolerate facts on the ground if she can ensure that she will no longer be involved militarily.

There is at least one precedent. Paul Kagame, though popularly elected in Rwanda, ruthlessly holds on to power. He is credibly accused of assassinating potential opponents or critical countrymen wherever they may be. His administration is suspected of fomenting rebellion in neighbouring countries. Yet Rwanda is one of the Department of International Development's favourite clients, because Justine Greening knows that practically all UK aid goes to where it is needed without corruption and it is used effectively.

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