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2014年8月28日 (木)

「イスラム国」 凶暴な武装集団の跳梁許すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Barbaric Islamic State militant group must be stamped out
「イスラム国」 凶暴な武装集団の跳梁許すな

The international community should take every possible action to eradicate the barbaric Islamic State militant group.

There seems to be no end in sight to the Sunni Islamist group’s increasing influence in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State is reported to have forced Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces to withdraw from an air force base in the north of the country, setting its sights on capturing Aleppo, the largest city in that area.

The Islamic State has been increasing its combat potential with funds obtained through such nefarious means as the seizure of oil fields and kidnapping for ransom. On the other hand, the militant group has been carrying out a skillful campaign to attract combatants from around the world who hold radical beliefs. The number of Islamic State militants total about 15,000, according to some observers.

The group is guilty of mass slaughter and sexual assault in areas under its control. It recently beheaded an American who had not been heard of since he was kidnapped in Syria about two years ago, and released a chilling video on the Internet showing the execution. A Japanese man has also been captured by the group, arousing concern for his safety.

The international community faces the pressing task of eliminating this barbaric group.

In early August, the United States launched air strikes on the Islamic State in some areas of Iraq. This achieved a certain measure of success in hurting the group. However, the Islamic State, which is trying to expand its influence through cross-border activities, has shifted its main area of operations to Syria, a move leading to the American’s execution.

The United States has said the purpose of its air attacks is to protect its own people, indicating that it is prepared to conduct a similar military campaign in Syria as one of its options.

U.S. faces dilemma

Assad’s government is poised to permit U.S. air strikes on the militant group in Syria if Washington agrees to hold consultations to reach a bilateral consensus prior to military operations.

However, launching air strikes puts the United States in a quandary. Doing so will help Assad remain in power at a time when the United States is at odds with his country. This will force President Barack Obama to make a difficult decision on how to deal with the situation.

The United States and European nations intend to supply weapons to Iraq’s Kurdish troops and the Free Syrian Army, an armed Syrian dissident group opposed to the Islamic State. The move is intended to deal a blow to the Islamic State by supporting its enemies.

However, there is concern the Islamic State may gain the upper hand in its fight with its opponents, a development that could result in the Islamist group acquiring a large number of weapons that have been supplied to the troubled region.

The great increase in the Islamic State’s power is believed to be attributable to massive funding from wealthy supporters in oil-producing countries. The international community needs to uncover the whole truth behind this and shut off the militant group’s source of funds.

Immediate measures must also be taken to stop the group from recruiting members from around the world. One of the tasks in this respect is to remove video footage promoting the Islamic State on the Internet, a task necessary to prevent the further spread of radicalization.

There is an increasing number of cases in which figures involved in terrorist activities in the Middle East and elsewhere return to the United States, European and other nations. It is extremely important to keep a close eye on them and track their movements.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 27, 2014)


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