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How to Fight ISIS – The New York Times

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“The mass murder of civilians in Paris has inevitably reignited the debate over using military force in the Middle East to attack the Islamic State. The debate, like anything that gets tangled up in American presidential politics, is divorced from reality. The United States, and other nations, is already engaged in military action with some ground forces in Iraq and Syria.

The panicked reactions, fanned by right-wing politicians in the United States and Europe, to “declare war” on the Islamic State are mostly just noise. None of those proposing that kind of response offer the slightest idea of how it would be done; all they have is an understandable desire, which we share, to obliterate the terrorist group also known as ISIS.

President Obama struck the right note in his remarks on Monday: Military action can be only one part of a broader strategy that the United States and its partners will have to pursue over many years. Important Muslim nations, notably Saudi Arabia, will simply have to stop paying for and politically enabling the mosques, imams and paramilitary groups that fuel extremists and their virulent perversions of Islam. Moderate Muslims need to redouble efforts, begun after 9/11, to ensure that their vision of a more tolerant and inclusive Islam prevails…”

Source: How to Fight ISIS – The New York Times

When Women Become Terrorists – NYTimes.com

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When Women Become Terrorists – NYTimes.com.

SINCE the terror attacks in Paris two weeks ago, the French police have been on the hunt for Hayat Boumeddiene, the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the slain gunmen. She is now suspected to be in Syria. Some news reports speculate that Ms. Boumeddiene, 26, may have been “the more radical of the two.” Yet one of the first questions that French authorities intend to ask her is, they say, “if she did this under influence, if she did it by ideology, if she did it to aid and abet.”

While much will be made in the coming months of France’s intelligence failures, the West’s inability to appreciate the role that women play in terror should come under the highest scrutiny. Take the role of women in the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. While the group oppresses many women, many also flock to its ranks. Roughly 10 percent of its Western recruits are female, often lured by their peers through social media and instant messaging. The percentage is much higher in France: An estimated 63 of the 350 French nationals believed to be with the group are women, or just under 20 percent.

This story is both a new one and an old one. Women have long been involved in terror of all stripes, from female neo-Nazis in Europe to Chechen “black widow” suicide bombers…

What ISIS Could Teach the West – NYTimes.com

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What ISIS Could Teach the West – NYTimes.com.

 

“…the extremists recognized a basic truth: Their greatest strategic threat comes not from a drone but from a girl with a book. We need to recognize, and act on, that truth as well.

 

For similar reasons, the financiers of extremism have invested heavily in fundamentalist indoctrination. They have built Wahhabi madrassas in poor Muslim countries like Pakistan, Niger and Mali, offering free meals, as well as scholarships for the best students to study in the gulf.

 

Shouldn’t we try to compete?

 

Shouldn’t we use weapons in the short run, but try to gain strategic advantage by focusing on education and on empowering women to build stable societies less vulnerable to extremist manipulation?… Girls’ education seems to have more impact than boys’ education, partly because educated women have markedly fewer children. The result is lower birthrates and less of a youth bulge in the population, which highly correlates to civil conflict.

 

I support judicious airstrikes in the short term against the Islamic State, but that should be only one part of a policy combating extremism. And a starting point should be to ensure that the three million Syrian refugees mostly in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon — especially girls — can get schooling…”

 

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