Raqaa — the world capital of horror
They have committed mass murder, thrown people off rooftops, bragged about raping girls in schools, circulated news about killing foreigners, and taken people for forced labor. Raqaa has become the world capital of horror.
Daesh chose it as its capital because of its oil wells and facilities, which can fund its state. It has sold oil to anyone, and struck a deal that reconciled it with the Syrian regime, which is a major customer. In exchange for buying oil, Daesh has operated as an army for President Bashar Assad, fighting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other opposition factions.
The battle of Raqaa is the US-led coalition’s most important military and political work. The administration of US President Barack Obama needs a huge propaganda victory after criticism escalated against its Syria policy. If Raqaa is liberated, it will be its only major military achievement since the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
Liberating Raqaa is important because it will destroy the caliphate, not just its capital. If the coalition kills and expels thousands of Daesh terrorists from their stronghold, this will send a strong message to other extremist groups, including Al-Nusra Front, and hinder militant recruitment propaganda.
Victory will be thrilling when reported on TV, but its results will be limited on the ground. We have previously seen how terrorist groups run like mice; build new hiding places then resume battle. Daesh decreased its presence in Iraq’s Al-Anbar province then seized the city of Mosul. It is expected to do the same in Raqaa then target other Syrian cities.
Apart from the propaganda gains of liberating Raqaa, the US-led coalition will not succeed in reducing the Daesh threat because the organization lives off chaos in Syria and benefits from the criminality of the Assad regime. Around half a million Syrians have been killed, and millions have been displaced or lost loved ones, due to the crimes of the Assad regime, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, which are not less hideous than Daesh’s acts.
All this to keep Assad in power. Daesh will not find it difficult to recruit thousands of Syrians and others if it decides to revert to its old slogans of targeting the Assad regime, which it abandoned after declaring the caliphate.
Daesh will lose its capital, and will suffer a propaganda defeat worldwide.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view