The jihadi army that will eliminate Daesh
Defeating Daesh in Syria is not difficult at all, but it is a lot more difficult in Iraq. That is, unless it is fought by the same army that will defeat it in Syria. This army would call on the jihadis who raised the flag of a free Syria from the top of the Al-Raqqah municipal building and say, “Those of you who believe in Allah and the Day of Judgement will pray the afternoon prayer in Mosul.” Of course, the battle that will begin from Al-Raqqa and lead to Mosul will need a few days and complicated diplomatic actions, but the people are one and they all want to eliminate Daesh, along with all tyrants and sectarians.
When Daesh’s star rose, a number of American military officials, and even President Barack Obama himself, said that defeating the group would take years; someone even suggested 10 years. Their statements would have been true if the Americans were going to undertake this task, or even if it were undertaken by Bashar Al-Assad’s tyrannical regime or sectarian forces such as the People's Mobilisation Forces or the Iraqi army. This is because the people of Al-Raqqah, Mosul and the rest of the Iraqi Sunni Muslims and tribes do not want the latter to govern them once again. This is the obvious but simple secret that the Americans, as well as the Russians, have failed or refused to realise.
There are thousands of reasons why the destruction of Daesh would be faster at the hands of a national Syrian army, supported by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim forces, preferably away from direct American participation in the battle. This is also what the Americans want. All they have to do is protect the backs of the Islamic army from Russian treachery, but they are able to handle the Iranians and the regime.
The first reason is that they are the indigenous people of the country and they are the most familiar with its tribes and components. Secondly, they have the most interests invested in the issue, as Daesh is not the future they want for their country. They cannot bear living under its shadow and they do not agree with Daesh’s interpretation of their religion. They see it as extremism and a deviation from its principles. Hence, they take the path of jihad voluntarily. Thirdly, the Syrians who had the misfortune of living under Daesh’s control and oppression would welcome these forces with open arms and cooperate with them, as they know that they are at one with them. They would also welcome those accompanied by these forces, such as the Saudis and Turks, as they are not afraid that they will betray or torture them, nor will they desecrate their sanctities, seize what little money they have, burn their mosques, humiliate their scholars or attack their religion and its figures with abusive language. The comparison here is quite clear; the People’s Mobilisation Forces in Iraq did not enter Ramadi and Al-Anbar to liberate the people, but to take revenge.
This explains what I wrote in the beginning of this article about defeating Daesh with an army consisting of indigenous people in Syria being easier in comparison to Iraq. The people of Mosul, Fallujah and other Sunni Iraqi cities are suffering on both sides. They are bearing the harm of Daesh and its extremism until God destines them to escape it, while they must also welcome and cooperate with another type of terrorism perpetrated by the People’s Mobilisation Forces, in which even the Iraqi government army is complicit. The people tried them before and suffered for years under the government of former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, when he controlled them and spread its men amongst the checkpoints and intelligence services across their cities. The men were either corrupt and bribed, mini-tyrants or hateful sectarians. When Daesh came with its black flag and former Iraqi army officers covered in black masks, the people did not bother defending their cities, as they were living under worse. However, the international complications, UN resolutions and America’s unclear intentions make a project like this difficult, if not impossible unless Washington’s intentions change.
If that occurs and if the Syrian national forces merge with their Iraqi brethren and use this momentum to liberate Al-Raqqah, then the free Syrians could head east towards Iraq, fearing no one but God and the treachery of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which have allied with the regime and control Al-Qamishli and Al-Hasakah. They may also fear the setbacks of the Americans, who barely supported them and their Saudi and Turkish allies in their campaign against Daesh. There is, of course, what remains of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, which is under Russian and Iranian mandate, and which does not hesitate in seeking to expand at their expense. However, they are not distracted by Daesh and their foolish suicide missions. They kill and are being killed without thinking and completely against the teachings of religion and politics.
This all demonstrates the magnitude of the challenge faced by Saudi Arabia as it gathers the allies of the religion from Hafr Al-Batin in the south to Incirlik in the north, and it manoeuvres and negotiates with political allies in Washington and other Western capitals. However, Riyadh’s intentions are ambiguous, as its implicit statements sometimes do not align with its actions. Forces have rallied around it, ,some of which have their own agendas, but most of them have been dragged into the ranks out of patience and goodwill, in the hope that it all ends up well, as they share the Saudi vision of good and stability for all.
The last reason of the inevitability of an army of jihadis defeating Daesh is the fact that the latter has claimed that it only emerged to promote Islam and Sharia in the face of tyranny and sectarianism. However, this army will emerge as a “Muslim alliance” that promotes the principles of Islam and a will to build countries of justice and good, and this is enough to defeat the extremist ideas after the defeat of those promoting these ideas. This is no less important than the defeat of the individuals and either taking them prisoner or exterminating them.