US President Barack Obama has had to shed his aversion to getting his hands soiled in the sectarian wars elsewhere. But on Wednesday, he had to bow to reality and undertake to play the role the free world expects America, still the unquestioned leader of the free world, to play. Following the growing threat of the Islamist jihadis loosely banded together under the rubric of Islamic State (IS), and the well-publicised beheadings of two American journalists, Obama has committed the US to “degrade and ultimately destroy” IS. That is a commendable mission. Every country, which respects human freedom and liberty, will fully support the US in fulfilling that mission.

To begin with, Obama should ensure that no longer do the US allies such as the Saudis and the Qataris fund the IS. Indeed, they should be penalised for having created such a monster force of mercenary warriors who rape, pillage and generally behave like barbarians in the name of Islam. That is an insult to Islam, of course, and sooner the hordes of dreamy-eyed Muslim youths pining for a Caliphate realise that, the better it would be for the future of their religion. Islam is a peaceful religion but it has been profaned massively by those waging unholy wars in its name. Now that the IS is threatening to destabilise the entire West Asian region, the US must enlist the support of the Saudis and the Qataris to neutralise that threat.

The ongoing campaign to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has suffered a setback, since the IS now threatens to take over not only a good part of Iraq, but parts of Syria as well. In fact, Assad ought to be allowed to take the aerial route to attack the advancing IS jihadis. The demand that the Security Council should clear any decision to attack the IS can only provide relief to the insurgents. Eventually, the established West Asian governments will themselves have to defeat the IS. The US and other western nations can provide strategic support, military training and equipment. Meanwhile, Obama, an inward-looking liberal who sought to reverse his predecessor’s active involvement in various West Asian conflicts, should have no regret for feeling obliged to step up the US intervention in Iraq, Syria and other neighbouring countries.

Without US involvement, there is every chance of the entire West Asian region being thrown into turmoil and, further, its fallout endangering the established world order. As it is, Putin’s Russia is busy exploiting the American tiredness against foreign intervention to grab chunks of an independent Ukraine. Should the US allow IS to continue to run riot in the Iraq-Syria sectors the barbaric jihadis could become a bigger menace to other countries, including India. The violent churn in the Islamic countries may have been of their own making, but without Obama and other western nations undertaking to quell it, the wider world could risk stability and peace. Therefore, Obama’s commitment to degrade and destroy IS has come not a day too soon.

The army does it again

The army has put up a great rescue and relief effort in the Jammu and Kashmir floods. Nobody can deny that. That is why it is doubly ungrateful of the separatist-inspired Kashmiris to claim that they were left to fend for themselves when the Jhelum was in great rage and they were marooned by roof-level waters. The truth is that the devastation in the Jammu region was far greater, but in spite of the fact that the authorities concentrated their rescue and relief task in the Valley, the Jammuites graciously acknowledged the helpful role the army had played to lessen their misery from the floods. Indeed, if anyone had abdicated, it was the State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Neither the state police nor the civilian administration was anywhere in sight when the flood waters wreaked their fury on the people in the state. The army was the lone beacon of hope for the affected people, notwithstanding the ingrates in the Valley lying about the lack of rescue and relief efforts. Indeed, it does reveal a particularly diseased mind when an ISI-funded terrorist leader in Pakistan accuses India of `water aggression,’ even though Prime Minister Modi most graciously offered the services of the Indian Army to help save victims of the floods on the other side of the LoC.

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Free Press Journal