Terrorists Don’t Sign Peace Agreements

christopher_lee180-11

16th December 2015

London

There are two things we have to understand about fighting terrorism:

A terrorist does not sign peace agreements

An insurgent wins if he does not lose

Take those two points on board then you can put the grand alliance announced in Riyadh this week in some perspective.

You will also get an idea why American led anti-IS policies have the finger prints of a whole lot of pretty dumb Washington analysts written all over them.

The announcement in Riyadh says this:   34 mainly Muslim nations have agreed to join a Middle East, Asian and African axis to fight terrorism.

The group is largely Sunni.  The three missing states from this agreement -Iran, Syria and Iraq – are largely Shia.

The only significance of the announcement is that Gulf States and others others accept that they must do what they should have done in October 2014 – take it upon themselves to destroy the threats from ISIS instead of waiting for the Americans to do it for them.

The military tone poem coming out of all this is that the Saudis understand what ISIS terrorism is all about but cannot do too much about it and the US-led lot do not understand ISIS and they too cannot do much about it.

Talking to American policy wonks it is sadly clear they do not understand that rebellion is a greater power than ever because the means of making rebellion attractive and successful has never been greater.

Until autumn 2014 and with ISIS advancements the average Arab never believed it was possible to change society into something different.  ISIS said we can and we have.

Moreover most at Riyadh understands what America and her allies like the UK do not understand: an insurgency wins if it does not lose. Unlike state to state warfare, a rebellion can slink away and therefore cannot be beaten.  It can be contained as post-World War II America attempted to contain emerging USSR.  But it need never be beaten as long as the will remains.

The further reason for  doubting coalition understanding of what they are into is their continuing belief in signing agreements. That is a very western way of doing things. Making the other side sign means you have won.  Terrorism has no political signature that obliges those coming later to observe such a signature.

Western nations sign as states. Terrorists have no such structure nor authority.

All this says that whatever the plans of Riyadh, of Washington, of Moscow or of any other state, terrorism cannot be beaten because a signature is not a symbol of having lost.

It is a hard thought to follow, but it is the only one to be understood if ISIS is to be contained, which it will have to be because it has nothing to lose and therefore will for ever win.

 

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