Actions, not rhetoricThe United Nations Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling for a crackdown on the Islamic State (ISIS). In Friday’s resolution, the Security Council stated that the Islamic terrorist group has become an unprecedented threat to peace and security in the world, underscoring the need to fight against the group through all means available. The resolution urged all UN members capable of taking action against the ISIS to do so in the area controlled by the group in Syria and Iraq. After the ruthless Nov. 13 terror attacks by the extremist group, which took the lives of 130 innocent citizens in the heart of Europe, the international community is being united under the flag of “a war on ISIS.”
But the council’s resolution stops short of offering legal foundation for military actions against the fanatical band, as it did not refer to Article 7 of the UN Charter, which authorizes the use of force. Yet, the fact that all member nations of the Security Council - including its five permanent members - are acting in unison carries great significance. That means they share a sense of fear that no one of them is safe from terror attacks from ISIS and a sense of urgency that any single nation cannot root out the unfettered terrorism of the radical faction. After the unflinching determination of international society was confirmed by the Security Council resolution, the only thing left is putting it into action. It is urgent to discuss effective ways to coordinate a retaliatory campaign among UN members to bring the runaway terrorist group to justice.
ISIS has been building its strength amid the ongoing civil war in its fifth year in Syria. To retaliate against the terrorist group, the international community must first bring the civil war to an end. After the civil war is over through a political compromise among concerned parties, international society must exert all efforts to punish ISIS once and for all. Given the timing that French President Francois Hollande plans to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week, Washington and Moscow must narrow their sharp differences on the issue of the Syrian civil war so as to form a united front in a crusade against the fanatical group.
As seen in Friday’s terror attacks in Mali, Africa, in which 21 citizens were killed, al Qaeda is increasingly competing with the ISIS on international terrorism. Al-Mourabitoun, an African militant jihadist organization affiliated with al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack. It is no time for the United States and Russia to engage in a tug of war over their political interests. Since 1999, the UN Security Council has adopted as many as 14 resolutions against terror attacks around the globe. But the UN council’s resolutions couldn’t address terrorism at all. What’s needed is not rhetoric but action.
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 23, Page 30