The former capital of the Islamic State group’s de facto state, Raqqa, has been recaptured by U.S.-backed forces in Syria. The capture was done primarily by the Arab and Kurdish militia alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, who had been besieging the Islamic State’s so-called capital city for nearly four months.
The blow to the IS has followed a steady trend of the IS slowly losing a foothold in the Middle East, but this seems like a temporary relief on the horizon before major powers such as the United States cause yet another colossal mishap, no matter who they back in the fight against terrorist forces in the region.
It has been stated thousands of times before, but the conditions are set for the rise of similar terrorist organizations operating from the viewpoint of hyper-fundamentalist religious philosophies were originally set in place by western powers.
The powers were attempting to create footholds in the Middle East against the communist influence of the Soviet Union. The result was the stirring of resentment against the West for setting up incredibly conservative dictatorships in order to hold up those pillars of influence within the region.
The dictatorships were created for an economic foothold that would eventually become pointless once the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own inability to function.
The next logical step should have been the dismantling of the puppet regimes that the United States set up, but of course this was less important than using the Middle East as a new economic well with much more socially radical, but U.S.-friendly, governments.
These regimes would cooperate without assertion of any kind of economic independence, but re-affirm a cultural independence that would minimize the role of Western culture in the development of more religiously conservative states.
Now yet another scourge has plagued the people of the Middle East, whether they are of another religion entirely or even just a tiny measure away from the radical conservative ideology of the IS.
Their defeat seems closer every day, but at this rate, there might as well be a countdown clock to the next radical insurgency encouraged by the United States because of a regime that will not bow to U.S. wants and desires.
Knowing the apparent means of operation for the new administration, encouraging undesirable but politically convenient elements in a nation mired with deep, sectarian controversy, is no big deal.
It seems encouraging that local forces have captured the former capital of the IS, but now the question that remains is if these local forces are the ones who will be able to determine the future of the countries they hope to reclaim from extremism.
However, if a much more stable, prolonged peace is to be expected, there needs to be a degree of hands-off care in allowing the determination of a new national paradigm for some of these countries. Simply propping up politicians immediately bending to U.S. suggestions will not cut it anymore, nor will failing to understand the complex cultural and religious diversity in the region.
The potential total defeat of the IS is a chance for a soft reset on foreign policy in the Middle East.
The United States could gladly ignore the chance for self-determinism in favor of greedy, malicious political power plays, or the United States can begin to focus less on missile strikes and more on general aid needed in the places that have been ravaged the most.
Yet another body bag can be replaced with a meal for a family and a city can actually begin to repair itself without the fear of someone coming in and telling the residents that they have no rights.