After Paris, is it time to ‘smash’ Raqqa, the ISIS capital?

Christopher Dickey writes: As this stunned city tried to come to terms with the horror that struck it the night of Friday the 13th, the word “war” echoed in cafes, on the streets, and in the statements of government officials.

Teams of suicide bombers from the so-called Islamic State, striking at soft targets in the heart of the city and a stadium on the outskirts, had taken their own lives along with those of at least 129 innocents, blasting away with Kalashnikovs at a rock concert and restaurants, and at a soccer game attended by more than 80,000 people, before blowing themselves up.

A statement purportedly from ISIS called the attacks “the Blessed Paris Invasion.” French President François Hollande, more accurately, described them as “an act of war committed by a terrorist army.” And he promised a “merciless” response.

But if this attack in the heart of a major Western capital represents the beginning of a new phase in the combat between ISIS and the civilized world, the question going forward is what kind of war will it be? What can be done not just to control and contain the threat? That approach by Washington and its allies clearly has not worked. There was nothing controlled or contained about what happened here. [Continue reading…]

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