Final showdown: on IS
Mains Paper 1: International Relations
Prelims level: Islamic State
Mains level: Islamic state terror aftermath effects in the middle east region
- The Islamic State, which at its peak controlled territories
straddling the Iraq-Syria border of the size of Great Britain, is now
fighting for half a square kilometre in eastern Syria.
- The Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led rebel group assisted
by the U.S., has effectively laid siege to Baghouz, the eastern Syrian
village where about 500 IS jihadists along with 4,000 women and children are
- When the IS lost bigger cities such as Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in
eastern Syria, militants moved to Baghouz and the deserts in the south.
After the SDF moved to Baghouz, several civilians fled the village.
The IS losing power
- The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that nearly
59,000 people have left IS-held territory since December, and at least 4,000
jihadists have surrendered since February.
- Both President Donald Trump and the SDF commanders say victory
against the IS is imminent. Victory in Baghouz will also mean the IS’s
territorial caliphate is shattered.
- Since the battle for Kobane in 2015, which marked the beginning of
the end of the IS, Syrian Kurdish rebels have been in the forefront of the
war. Naturally, the SDF would claim the final victory against the IS.
- The liberation of Baghouz or the destruction of the territorial
caliphate does not necessarily mean that the IS has been defeated. It is
basically an insurgent-jihadist group.
- It has established cells, especially in Syria and Iraq, which have
continued to carry out terror attacks even as IS territories kept shrinking.
- The group has a presence in Syria’s vast deserts, a tactic its
predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, successfully used when it was in decline
during 2006-2011 after its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed by the
- When the Syrian civil war broke, the remnants of AQI found an
opportunity for revival and rebranded themselves as the Jabhat al-Nusra,
al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.
- The IS was born when al-Nusra split.
- The U.S., the Kurdish rebels, the Syrian government and other
stakeholders in the region should be mindful of the geopolitical and
sectarian minefields that groups such as the IS could exploit for their
- Mr. Trump has already announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from
- The Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is wary
of the rapid rise of the Syrian Kurds, who are organisationally and
ideologically aligned with Kurdish rebels on the Turkish side.
- The Syrian regime, on its part, has vowed to re-establish its
authority over the Kurdish autonomous region in the northeast.
- If Turkey and Syria attack Kurdish rebels, who were vital in the
battle against the IS, that would throw northeastern Syria into chaos again,
which would suit the jihadists. To avoid this, there must be an orderly U.S.
withdrawal and a political solution to the Syrian civil war.
Q.1) Fall Armyworm, an agricultural pest, recently seen in news, is with
respect to which of the following crops?
Q.1) The Islamic State is facing defeat, but the search for a political solution
in Syria should continue needed. Critically examine the statement.