France calls for international push to defeat IS group

France calls for international push to defeat IS group

Politics: France organises international conference to find political solutions to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, after IS makes significant gains in both countries.
3 min read
22 May, 2015
IS is creating a growing tide of refugees across Syria and Iraq [Anadolu]

France has called for a Paris conference to address the recent gains made by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said his counterparts from 24 countries would be attending the conference, starting on 2 June. The Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, would also be present. 

The announcement comes after the IS group took over the Iraqi city of Ramadi in Anbar, and Palmyra in Syria, tightening its control over huge areas of both countries as government forces fail to control their advances.

The situation in Syria is particularly perilous as weak regime forces suffer repeated defeats. French sources said that the UN was attempting to get the Syrian government and its Iranian ally to accept the formation of a transitional government including moderate opposition leaders, and for Bashar al-Assad to step down as president. Only then would Syria be able to face the threat of the IS group.

Rami al-Khalifa al-Ali told al-Araby al-Jadeed that now was the right time for a political solution. The Paris-based Syrian political analyst said the Syrian regime has been falling apart since it lost control of Idlib to the al-Qaeda group, the Nusra Front, and Palmyra to the IS.

"The West hopes recent field developments will force the Syrian and Iranian regimes to accept a political settlement based on the resolutions of the first Geneva conference," al-Khalifa al-Ali added.

     Air raids have been ineffective at stopping IS advance.

French analyst Agnes Levallois told al-Araby al-Jadeed Paris and Washington believed Iran would put pressure on Assad to accept a political solution.

"The only way to stop IS advancing in Syria and Iraq is to start direct negotiations with Iran, the Syrian regime and Iraqi government's main strategic ally."

Levallois said a US air campaign had not stopped IS and the US-led international coalition has been reluctant to begin a real war.

"A real war would means sending international troops to fight on the ground. This is the only solution that will achieve tangible results, as seen with the latest military operation carried out by US special forces, that killed IS leader Abu Sayyaf," she said.

According to information obtained by al-Araby al-Jadeed, the Paris conference will also discuss political divisions in Iraq, and try to reconcile different Iraqi groups into a front against IS.

Jawad Bishara, a Paris-based Iraqi political analyst, told al-Araby: "The West, namely France and the US, believe Iraq will collapse if the situation doesn't change. This is because of the major political imbalance and the weak government. Iraq will not be able to get rid of IS until its political institutions are completely restructured."

Bishara said that western countries would use the Paris conference to seek an international agreement that will put pressure on the Shia, Sunni, and Kurds to establish a real national unity government.

"This is the last chance to save Iraq from falling apart and entering into an infernal civil war that could have catastrophic consequences on the entire region," he added.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.