'Will a united front defeat terrorists?'


People place flowers and light candles in tribute for the victims of the Paris terror attacks. (Net photo)


RE:Can Islamic State help unite UN's veto powers?(The New Times, November 22).

Any apparent unity among them is merely tactical and very temporary. Their interests and those of their regional and local clients and/or allies remain opposed. Their seeming concord will be very short-lived indeed.

For geopolitical reasons, the primary goal of the US and its allies, both in the region and in Europe, remains regime-change in Damascus—perhaps with some temporary calibration of the calendar to allow first for the degradation of ISIS to a level where its ability to project its terrorist capacity beyond the regional theatre is curbed.

The Russians and their regional allies are equally determined to do what is needed to ensure the survival of Bashar al-Assad and his government, considering both as the sole embodiment of state legitimacy.

We have a perfect zero-sum game underway in which each side considers gains by the other as its own loss. We may have some tactical and temporary adjustments to take account of events such as those of Paris on November 13, but the fundamental situation remains one of confrontation between two adversarial sides, none of which is prepared to back down before the other lest it be considered weak.

Mwene Kalinda