THERE can be no strategy for addressing the Islamic State or ISIS except stamping it out.
This was the declaration of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. as he reaffirmed Manila’s commitment to fighting ISIS together with other nations during the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh/ISIS in Rome on June 28.
In a statement posted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday, Locsin underscored that ISIS is about nothing but submission, not to God nor religion but ISIS.
“ISIS is not an idea in action like Shining Light and the forlorn insurgencies of the Cold War. ISIS propounds no ideas. It doesn’t preach; it just practices murder, rape, and destruction,” he said.
“It is said an idea cannot be destroyed. Not true. All that’s needed is to destroy the vessel that holds it when the idea consists only of murder, rape, and destruction. There can be no strategy for addressing ISIS except stamping it out.”
In 2017, the Philippine city of Marawi was added to the list of cities left in ruins when militant groups affiliated with ISIS overran the area. It was only after six months of fierce battle that the government was able to retake the city.
The United States-led global coalition reported that ISIS no longer controls territory and nearly 80 million people have been freed from its control in Syria and Iraq, but “the threat remains.”
It noted that the resumption in Daesh/ISIS activities and its ability to rebuild its networks and capabilities to target both security forces and civilians in areas in Iraq and Syria where the coalition is not active, “requires strong vigilance and coordinated action.”
In a joint communiqué, the 83-member coalition reiterated “shared determination to continue the fight against Daesh/ISIS, and to create conditions for the enduring defeat of the terrorist group.”
The ministers also emphasized the protection of civilians as a priority and affirmed that international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, must be upheld under all circumstances.
They also expressed commitment to strengthening cooperation to ensure that the Daesh/ISIS Core in Iraq and Syria, and its affiliates and networks around the world are unable to reconstitute any territorial enclave.
Since 2014, the global coalition has carried out a comprehensive strategy to destroy ISIS. Among its milestones is the removal of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2019 and scores of ISIS leaders.
It has also destroyed “100 percent of ISIS’s territorial caliphate,” liberating more than 42,000 square miles and supporting the safe and voluntary return of nearly eight million people from ISIS’s brutal rule. Philippine News Agency