IS was?: On Islamic State’s defeat: THE HINDU EDITORIAL

IS was On Islamic State’s defeat THE HINDU EDITORIAL

IS was?: On Islamic State’s defeat: THE HINDU EDITORIAL

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declared victory over the Islamic State, signalling an end to more than three years of battle that saw Iraqi troops first fleeing without their weapons and then, with foreign assistance, regrouping to recover lost territory. At the peak of its influence, the IS controlled almost a third of Iraq, including Mosul, its second largest city. Mr. Abadi, who took over as Prime Minister in September 2014 when the country was in the middle of the civil war, adopted a cautious, gradualist approach with direct help from the United States and Iran to take on the IS. Iraqi troops first stopped the IS’s southward expansion in the suburbs of Baghdad and then started offensive operations in the group’s small pockets of influence. After capturing cities such as Ramadi and Fallujah, Iraqi troops moved to Mosul, the jewel in the IS crown. Iran-trained Shia militias and Kurdish Peshmerga troops joined the ground battle, as the U.S. provided air cover. When Mosul was liberated in July after nine months of fighting, it was arguable whether a final victory over the IS was just a matter of time. Mr. Abadi claims Iraqi soldiers have established control over the vast Iraq-Syria border after ousting IS fighters from small border towns where they had retreated after losing urban areas. For Mr. Abadi and the Iraqi military, this is a moment of both relief and accomplishment. But it may be far too simplistic to conclude that Iraq is totally rid of the IS threat. Perhaps a greater challenge they face is healing the wounds of the civil war. Iraq is a divided country today. The resource-rich south, which is mostly Shia, supports the government and is relatively peaceful. In the war-stricken north and west, there is no doubting that people feel alienated from the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. The Kurdish Autonomous Region has already held a referendum, against the wishes of Baghdad, in which a majority of voters supported independence. If the government fails to tackle these divisions and lets parts of the country drift into anarchy again, groups like the IS will find it an easy breeding ground and regain a footing. The IS may have lost territory, but it would be blind to deny that the group doesn’t exist anymore. It is not known, for instance, what happened to its self-declared Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In Syria it still controls territory, even if it is under growing pressure of Russian-American bombing and Kurdish attacks. In 2006-07, al-Qaeda in Iraq had faced similar military setbacks. But when Iraq’s sectarian rivalry took a turn for the worse and civil war broke out in Syria, it regrouped and reinvented itself as the IS. Mr. Abadi has to see that this doesn’t repeat itself. In order to do so, he must, besides keeping the military on alert, reach out to the country’s disaffected Sunnis and Kurds. Only a united Iraq can hold off the resurrection of the extremists.


1) Fleeing
Meaning: Run away from a place or situation of danger.
Example: “to escape the fighting, his family fled from their village”
Synonyms: Escape, Abscond
2) Liberated
Meaning: Set (someone) free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression.
Example: “the serfs had been liberated”
Synonyms: Release, Discharge
Antonyms: Confine, Enslave
3) Ousting
Meaning: Drive out or expel (someone) from a position or place.
Example: “the reformists were ousted from power”
Synonyms: Expel, Remove
4) Simplistic
Meaning: Treating complex issues and problems as if they were much simpler than they really are.
Example: “simplistic solutions”
Synonyms: Facile, Superficial
5) Anarchy
Meaning: A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems.
Example: “he must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy”
Synonyms: Disorder, Revolution
Antonyms: Government, Order
6) Breeding ground
Meaning: A place or situation that favours the development or occurrence of something.
Example: “the situation is a breeding ground for political unrest”
7) Footing
Meaning: The position or status of a person in relation to others.
Example: “the suppliers are on an equal footing with the buyers”
Synonyms: Standing, Status
8) Caliph
Meaning: The chief Muslim civil and religious ruler, regarded as the successor of Muhammad. The caliph ruled in Baghdad until 1258 and then in Egypt until the Ottoman conquest of 1517; the title was then held by the Ottoman sultans until it was abolished in 1924 by Atatürk.
9) Resurrection
Meaning: The revitalization or revival of something.
Example: “the resurrection of the country under a charismatic leader”
Synonyms: Revival, Restoration
10) Ushering
Meaning: Show or guide (someone) somewhere.
Example: “a waiter ushered me to a table”
Synonyms: Escort, Accompany
11) Conspiring
Meaning: Make secret plans jointly to commit an unlawful or harmful act.
Example: “they conspired against him”
Synonyms: Scheme, Intrigue
12) Otherness
Meaning: The quality or fact of being different.
Example: “the developed world has been celebrating African music while altogether denying its otherness”
13) Fuzzy
Meaning: Difficult to perceive; indistinct or vague.
Example: “the picture is very fuzzy”
Synonyms: Blurry, Blurred
Antonyms: Clear, Sharp
14) Bullshit
Meaning: Complete nonsense or something that is not true; to try to persuade someone or make them admire you by saying things that are not true.
Example: He gave me some excuse but it was a load of bullshit.
Synonyms: Tricking
15) Deceive
Meaning: Deliberately cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, especially for personal gain.
Example: “I didn’t intend to deceive people into thinking it was French champagne”
Synonyms: Swindle, Defraud
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