Hassan Hassan writes: This past week was one of drawing parallels. Saudi Arabia’s top cleric condemned Isis’s behaviour, but authorities there have beheaded at least 19 convicts since 4 August. Many of those who condemned the summary execution of Isis rivals celebrated Hamas’s execution of 18 suspected informants. While the world’s attention was focused on Isis, a like-minded Shia militia attacked a Sunni mosque in the Iraqi province of Diyala on Friday, killing nearly 70 worshippers. This militia is linked to the government and has fought alongside the security forces against Isis.
The American defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, warned last Thursday that Isis is “beyond anything that we’ve seen before”. And yet the causes that led to the rise of Isis are all too familiar. And the Americans have contributed their share to these causes.
Isis thrive on the inconsistencies and injustices that plague the region. A response to Isis cannot involve, for example, working with a government-linked militia that indiscriminately kills worshippers, while rhetorically recognising that a credible and viable political process is necessary for Iraq. Nor does it involve flirting with the Assad regime to fight Isis after it killed or caused the death of close to 200,000 people. The battle against Isis, which itself came on the heels of failure to address the root causes of al-Qaida before it, has to be far-reaching and consistent. Otherwise, the defeat of Isis will only give way to an even more extreme and formidable force.