To “overhaul” the international anti-Daesh strategy and evaluate the new challenges posed by terrorism. This was the agenda of the Small Group Ministerial Meeting of the Coalition to counter Daesh, which gave rise to three political messages that are due to guide future actions.
The first concerns the results achieved up to now. The anti-Daesh strategy is working. Symbolically, because regaining control of Ramadi, after Tikrit, Sinjar and Bayjil, has dimmed its halo of invincibility. Territorially, in terms of the extension of the self-proclaimed “State”, because during the last year Daesh has lost 40% of the territory it controlled in Iraq and 20% in Syria. Financially, because the terrorists’ revenues from smuggling natural resources have fallen 30%, to the extent that they have been compelled to cut the fighters’ wages to a half. The second message concerns the need to adjust to the changing form of Daesh’s threat. Now under pressure in Iraq and Syria, the jihadists are seeking success and resources elsewhere, as proven by their recent attacks in Paris and Istanbul and the infiltration into Libya. We are facing a hybrid and resilient organisation, capable of planning strategically. We must therefore combat its global ambitions, enhancing the protection of our citizens through closer cooperation among intelligence agencies. Moreover, monitoring the situation in Libya is an absolute priority if we want to avoid it becoming a free trade zone for jihadists. The third point confirms a strong conviction that Italy has: in order to defeat Daesh, it is necessary to put in place a multidimensional strategy. Military action remains indispensable but it must be accompanied by a diplomatic, economic and cultural effort. Long-sightedness requires us to build a new order in the Mediterranean and not fall in the delusion of quick fixes or “blitzkriegs”. We must invest in setting in motion the political transition process in Syria, in supporting an agenda of reforms in Iraq, and in the stabilising role that the National Accord Government can play in Libya. It is also essential to strengthen the social resilience of Countries like Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon. In connection to these three messages, it is significant that the participants to the meeting – starting with Secretary of State Kerry – renewed their great appreciation for the leading role played by Italy, both in terms of logistic support and in heading the training activities for the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi police and security forces.