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2014年9月26日 (金)

米シリア領空爆 「テロとの戦い」に結集しよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
International community must unite in global battle against terrorism
米シリア領空爆 「テロとの戦い」に結集しよう

The long and difficult “war on terrorism” has entered a new phase.

The United States has extended its air strikes against the Islamic State, an Islamist extremist organization, from Iraq into Syria. The air strikes — involving cruise missiles fired by U.S. warships, stealth strike aircraft and drones — hit and destroyed Islamic State command-and-control sites and other military facilities in the country.

The air strikes also targeted an Al-Qaida affiliate that Washington said was poised to attack the United States or Europe.

U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized that the U.S.-led campaign would degrade the extremist ideologies that fuel bloodshed and ultimately destroy them.

Previously, the Obama administration had pulled out U.S. forces that were stationed in Iraq, and it did not conduct air strikes on Syria while the administration of President Bashar Assad was oppressing that nation’s people.

As the threat of the Islamic State spread across the world, however, the Obama administration was forced to change its policy into one of reinforcing its military involvement in the Middle East.

Five Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan, joined the U.S.-led operations. The United States wants to avoid unilateral action that would escalate anti-U.S. sentiment in the region and elsewhere, while the five Arab nations are threatened by the Islamic State’s efforts to alter national borders and change established systems. The nations’ interests thus align.

The United States will be required to strengthen the solidarity of the coalition, while maintaining its cooperative ties with the Arab world.

Washington has described its air strikes as an exercise of the right of self-defense. Meanwhile, Assad also approved the U.S.-led air strikes in his country by saying that he would support any international effort against terrorism. He apparently hopes to see the hostile forces against his administration weakened in his country.

Ground warfare next

However, the likelihood that the air strikes would have only a limited effect is worrisome. To eliminate the Islamic State militant group, ground warfare is inevitable.

The United States wants to see moderate dissident groups in Syria become a core force in the ground war against Islamic State militants by organizing them and giving them military training, and to see them become a force that would eventually replace the Assad regime.

To realize these goals, however, it will take quite a lot of time and energy. On this score, it is important for international society, in close cooperation with the United States, to support such efforts.

In the war on terrorism, diplomatic reinforcement is vital, in addition to military power.

The United States has been calling on the international community to reinforce border controls and freeze the assets of terrorists to prevent foreign militants and funds from flowing into the Islamic State group.

Members of the U.N. Security Council, in summit-level talks on Wednesday, aim to adopt a resolution on border controls. European countries and Middle Eastern nations not taking part in the military operations against the Islamic State should cooperate with such efforts of the council.

It is reasonable that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has denounced the brutal acts of the Islamic State militants and showed his understanding of the latest air strikes.

The Islamic State has brought about a serious crisis in the Middle East, creating vast numbers of refugees and other victims. Japan should contribute more proactively than before to countries in the region by extending humanitarian aid to refugees.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2014)Speech


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