Joining the dots on terrorism and engagement in the Middle East.

There  were three interesting pieces of news in the last week. Not connected in any way in the media but certainly worth connecting in the collective consciousness.

The first was an indication of the impact of the higher-level technology being used against ISIS in the Middle East. It is undoubtedly working in terms of defeating ISIS on the ground. But the cost is horrendous.

The UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria reports that 300 civilians died in Raqqa province in the three months to 31 May. About 200 of these deaths reportedly occurred in an airstrike in March on the village of Mansoura. That’s just in May. The overall costs is much greater in terms of the deaths of women and children and the costs of families displaced from their homeland.

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The rubble and this picture is the breeding ground for ISIS.

In a recent post on Facebook, an ex-CIA agent says that all the ISIS fighters she interrogated said they were fighting to make the world a better place for their children.

She also made interesting point that in  many of the films that the Americans make such as Star Wars, there is a small band of rebels fighting against an evil empire. She said the ISIS fighters saw themselves as the small band of rebels fighting against the the evil empire, what George Bush called “the Coalition of the Willing.”

Then there was David Petraeus, who’s been around a bit having commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. He served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from, 2011 until 2012  and he was highlighting the fact that while ISIS may be being beaten in the Middle East, they are shifting their focus to the Philippines.

Former CIA chief David Petraeus says war in south-east Asia ‘a big concern’ for Australia. The war launched by so-called Islamic State in south-east Asia in recent weeks will be a big problem for Australia for decades. 

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Already, Australia’s sending reconnaissance plans to the Philippines. It’s only a first step.

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But how long will it be before we are sending FA-18s to the Philippines? Of course not, how ridiculous.

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The problem is, you can’t bomb ISIS out of existence. It’s an idea. You can only ultimately combat ideas with better ideas, better policies.

Perhaps even better politicians?

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