Fighting forces of darkness

Fighting forces of darkness
Updated 25 September 2014

Fighting forces of darkness

Fighting forces of darkness

Saudi warplanes were part of the first international mission to attack the so-called Islamic State militants in their Syrian bases. Crown Prince Salman, the minister of defense, has made it clear that this is only the start of the Kingdom’s important contribution to the drive to defeat what he described as “the forces of darkness.”
An official source said that the Saudi Royal Air Force had, as part of the international coalition, joined in the military operation in Syria in support of the moderate Syrian opposition. The ultimate goal was the elimination of the deadly disease of terrorism. This would lead to the restoration of security, unity and development for the Syrian people and their devastated country, the source said.
Underlining the belief in the country and its strength, Crown Prince Salman stressed during the celebrations of the 84th National Day marking the Kingdom’s unification by King Abdul Aziz that Saudi Arabia would move with urgency and determination to defeat terrorism. He added that Saudis were proud of having the honor of serving Islam and Muslims all over the world. He also pointed out that the Kingdom would stand by the truth. It would not appease nor maneuver in its policies toward others. It would always stand by right, even if it angered some. “Our position is honesty in word and in deed” he said.
Saudi Arabia has been in the front-line of the fight against terrorism from the start. It has successfully confronted the terrorists in its own midst. It is well understood that only continued vigilance will contain the threat. However, unlike the rigid bigotry of the men of violence, under Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, anti-terrorism policies have combined subtlety with firmness. Thus terrorists who had not participated directly in murderous activities and who were prepared to recant and reveal all they knew of the evil operations of their former comrades were rewarded with rehabilitation and forgiveness. This highly successful policy has enabled security forces in the Kingdom to do much to lance the abscess of terrorism.
The crown prince’s determined stance toward IS was echoed in New York by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal who said that Saudi Arabia would never hesitate to join in determined anti-terror operations and would remain at their forefront.
It remains important that this is a global operation. Russia, President Bashar Assad’s faithful ally has, of course, been critical and China has chosen not to concern itself.
Aircraft from the UAE and Bahrain joined Saudi planes in the first attack against IS in Syria, in a military operation that also involved Qatar. Prince Saud said that the Kingdom saw itself as the nucleus for an international coalition that would strike at and root out terrorism all over the world.
This is indeed a time of crisis, when forthright action is needed. The key consideration is immediate action. It is clearly seen as unhelpful to analyze how the cancer of IS was able to spread with such alarming rapidity. Washington’s refusal to get involved in Syria and Obama’s fear of another Middle East entanglement are now a question for historians. Recriminations will serve no useful purpose.
It must however be hoped that Washington and European states are drawing a lesson. Saudi Arabia has been prominent in advising its allies that their arm’s-length policies were misconceived. Among all countries, Saudi Arabia probably has the most thoroughgoing understanding of this scourge because it has been a victim of terrorism. The Kingdom has been consistent in its advice that the continued survival of the Assad regime would create a deadly vacuum in which terrorism would flourish. Until now that advice has, just as consistently, been ignored.
When the IS snake has been destroyed, Washington must lead the international community in restoring justice and peace in both Syria and Iraq. Russia is no longer an obstacle. The days of appeasing the Kremlin ended when its troops marched into Crimea.
There can be no more phony Geneva talks with the Assad government. The Syrian president must be made to understand that the force that the US has used against IS could be used against him unless he quits and goes into exile in Moscow. The biggest lesson is that the fight against terrorism cannot succeed completely unless it also addresses the issues which terrorist leaders have exploited to justify their hate-filled violence. Palestine lies at the historic heart of the problem.