Start Points

Federalism Can Fight Terrorism

An Iraqi Shiite fighter from the Popular Mobilization units holds an Islamic State (IS) group patch as he inspects a council building in the city of Baiji, north of Tikrit, in the Salahaddin province, on June 7, 2015. Iraqi forces advanced against the IS jihadist group in Baiji as they battled to retake the strategic town for a second time. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
An Iraqi fighter holds up an Islamic State flag.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Without a firm grasp of the fundamental geopolitical, religious and economic factors behind the rise of the Islamic State, Western leaders will be unable to effectively cripple its advance.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Islamic State was supplied in part by arms from former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime.
    • On June 29, 2014, the Islamic State declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate with its leader being Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
    • President Barack Obama said at the G7 conference on Monday that the United States still didn’t have a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi defense forces battling ISIS.

  • Audio

    Audio

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Misconceptions about international terrorism too often guide politics, media and academia these days. But if you don’t think correctly, you can’t negotiate correctly.

The first fallacy is that you can fight terrorism by fighting poverty. Surely, everyone knows that Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was a multimillionaire. Most terrorist masterminds emerge from the middle class, and the Islamic State is swimming in money. The poor are merely cannon fodder for terrorist leaders. So economics and sociology do not explain today’s terrorism – no more than they did with the Baader-Meinhof terrorists in 1970s West Germany.

The second big fallacy is that the Israeli-Arab-Islamic conflict is the core of terrorism and Israel is the trigger.

If you blame Islam, you insist that Islamic terrorists want to hit Israel, the United States and other allies, and that they strive for Islamic world domination. That is nonsense because Sunni and Shiite Muslims are slaughtering each other in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

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