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2014年9月27日 (土)

社説:テロとの戦い 明確な展望が必要だ

September 26, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Obama must state clear vision for expanded airstrikes against Islamic State
社説:テロとの戦い 明確な展望が必要だ

The United States and five Arab countries have begun airstrikes in Syria, expanding the battle against Sunni Islamic State radicals. In a rare move, U.S. President Barack Obama headed a United Nations Security Council summit, where he successfully pitched a resolution to prevent foreign nationals from joining terrorist groups. One could say that a full-fledged struggle against terror has been launched by the Obama administration.
Obama announced an expansion of the American military campaign in a speech he gave in mid-September, having determined that airstrikes in Iraq were insufficient. Over half of the more than 30,000 Islamic State militants are believed to be in Syria. The oil-rich countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain are all U.S. allies and have taken a collective security strategy. Meanwhile, Jordan, which borders Iraq and Syria and is the fifth Arab country to participate in the expanded airstrikes, has been targeted by the Islamic State group as its next prey.

It was the complementary nature of U.S. and Arab interests that made this collaborative operation possible. Having come under intense fire from the Muslim world for its pre-emptive military strikes with the U.K. against Iraq in 2003, the Obama administration wanted to avoid such criticism, while the five Arab countries were desperate as they faced immediate threats from Islamic State militants. The structure of the campaign resembles the one taken when the air forces of the U.S. and Gulf countries waged war against Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

We want to ask President Obama, however, what his strategy and prospects are for the future. In his aforementioned speech, Obama declared that he would seek the destruction of the Islamic State group, but insisted he would not send U.S. ground troops. How effectively, then, can the powerful terrorist group on the ground be fought? Can victory be secured through airstrikes alone? The answer remains unclear. And it will not be easy to organize ground troops centered on the militaries of the Arab countries taking part in the campaign.

While it's possible to interpret the airstrikes in Iraq as exercising the right to collective self-defense, the legal basis for conducting airstrikes within Syrian borders while being at odds with the administration of President Bashar Assad is questionable. Both Russia and China, which have continued to veto Security Council resolutions relating to Syria, must also feel the threat of the Islamic State group. Would it not make sense for the Obama administration to hold renewed discussions with the two countries about a Security Council resolution that would justify the current military campaign and on how to bring the civil war in Syria to an end?

In the latest airstrikes, a largely unknown al-Qaida subgroup called the Khorasan group was one of the targets. Terrorist organizations are splintering off and proliferating. The administration of President George W. Bush began using the expression "war on terror" after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but the series of military operations that followed fueled anti-U.S. sentiment -- to which the rise of unprecedented threats such as the Islamic State group could be attributed.

The kind of militarism characterized by the Bush administration will only leave behind more trouble. The Obama administration is probably in for the long haul in its fight against terrorism. And it is precisely because the struggle will be a prolonged one that we must embrace foreign diplomacy and international cooperation.

毎日新聞 2014年09月26日 02時31分


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