Question-marks 1. ISIS after Mosul?

We are happy to announce that on 21 September our Association successfully organised the first session of our so-called ’Question-marks’ event which was a roundtable discussion, called ISIS after Mosul. Our invited guests were Péter Tálas PhD, lecturer at the National University of Public Service, Zsolt Rostoványi PhD, lecturer at Corvius University of Budapest and Péter Wagner PhD senior research fellow at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade. As a moderator, our mentor, Máté Szalai has attended the event who is an assistant professor at Corvinus University of Budapest as well as a researcher at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The first question was related to the lessons of the Mosul campaign. Professor Péter Tálas highlighted that the extended length of the campaign demonstrated the difficulty of fighting guerrilla warfare. Furthermore, he emphasised that the symbol effect of the war is being amortised due to its continuance. Zsolt Rostoványi emphasised that the influence of ISIS over its territories can be decreased and finally eradicated, however, as long as the radical ideology can be determinative in the region, the war will continue. Péter Wágner raised the attention to the importance of Mosul. According to his thoughts, the explanation of the long duration of the fights was that ISIS was willing to sacrifice everything for the city.

The next question was about the difficulties of defeating ISIS. It can be noticed that weakening the surrounding countries is much more important for the interfering countries, than defeating the terrorist group itself. Although the international collaboration was established with some difficulties the significance of the United States should be considered without which the recapture of Mosul could have lasted for years.

In the followings, our lecturers emphasised the role of ideology. According to Zsolt Rostoványi, it is much more crucial to hinder the spread of radical ideology, than to liquidate the terrorist group. Until the international community does not understand this ideology and does not take steps to assimilate the unintegrated social stratums, these problems will further exist.

Western societies should not separate harshly Islamic and Christian religion as in this way the radical terrorist groups can achieve their goals more easily. The invited experts have agreed on the question whether there is another alternative for the representation of the Sunni minority apart from ISIS. As they viewed, Turkey is taking steps to represent the Sunni interests, but the Turkish government does not have any considerable supporters.

Finally, our Association has organised a really instructive and informative lecture in a good atmosphere and we really hope that our next session of the so-called ’Question-mark events’ will also provide similar great experience.