The Islamic State (IS) has recently suffered massive military failures in Iraq and Syria, but the chance for peace and stability in the war-torn Middle East will still be as slim as ever, senior Turkish experts told Xinhua in interviews on Sunday.
IS militants had blown up the Great al-Nouri Mosque in Mosul, the de facto capital of the terror group in Iraq.
“Demolition of the al-Nouri Mosque in Mosul by IS, where Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi gave his sermon after declaring himself the Khalif of the Muslims, symbolically ends the so-called Islamic State,” said Bora Bayraktar, assistant professor of International Relations at Istanbul Kultur University.
In Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) unleashed a wide-scale offensive against the IS in Raqqa two weeks ago.
After capturing several neighborhoods in eastern and western Raqqa, the SDF and allied troops have recently seized the southern bank of Euphrates River, which enables them to lay siege to the city from four directions.
The SDF said on Friday that the IS militants have lost control in Raqqa, and “are moving around the city like cockroaches.”
Successive significant defeats have pushed IS extremists to spread panic in Europe, where dozens of people have been killed since March in a spate of terror attacks hitting the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. Terror attacks have also rocked Egypt, Iran and Somalia recently.
“Obviously, the IS has been under great pressure as it is losing ground both in Syria and Iraq,” Bayraktar said.
But Nuri Korkmaz, assistant professor from Bursa Technical University, said a deeper reason behind the recent surge in terror attacks around the world, especially in the countries supporting the U.S. in the anti-IS battles, could be to create more ethnic division.
“The recent terror attacks in Europe aim directly to destabilize the continent and segregate its Muslim immigrants,” Korkmaz said. “Because after each attack made by IS, we can see Muslims in Europe face problems and perhaps they are seen as potential terrorists by some right wing circles.”
When asked about the chances for peace and stability in the Middle East at a time when a final military victory against IS militants seems to be on the horizon, both experts said they are skeptical of a brighter future in the complicated region.
“There is no victory at the end of this war, as the IS members will continue to strike and hurt civilians. They will keep posing threats in every part of the world,” Bayraktar said.
“A real victory would be defeating their ideology,” he noted.
According to Korkmaz, foreign powers engaging in the proxy wars in the Middle East are the fundamental elements working against the real victory against terrorism.
“The IS is a terrorist organization. However, it is clear that U.S. is supporting People’s Protection Units (YPG) which is another pro-Kurdish terrorist organization in the battle against IS,” he said.
“This conflict is creating the main justification for their existence in the Middle East,” the Turkish expert added.
Meanwhile, Ilter Turan, professor of international relations from Bilgi University, pointed to the deeply-rooted Middle East social structure as the likely cause of elusive peace and stability in the region.
The IS “is the product of a social structure of the area and the regimes are all having their agenda. That is why it could find a position in the power vacuum in the region,” he said.
On the global fight against terrorism, more challenges will emerge for world governments to address as violence is going viral in the Middle East and beyond.
Bayraktar showed concerns about the mushrooming new technologies as they will “make it easier to access guns and intelligence” and allow the terrorist leaders to “give directions to all over the world.”
For Korkmaz, human rights are something most often neglected when extreme anti-terror measures are adopted.
“It could be more justifiable to make regulations that are congruent with human rights principles in fighting with terrorism,” he said.
Turan warned of any “unified” approach to terrorism as there is no common definition of it.
“There should be a broader census” on the anti-terror fight, he said, adding that terrorism is part of many other illegal activities such as drug smuggling and human trafficking.
“Since it is interlinked with other activities, the global battle has long way to go,” Turan noted. Enditem