Fight against IS ‘will fail if Assad stays’

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

DOHA : Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has warned that the US-led fight against Islamic State (IS) militancy will not succeed as long as Syrian President Bashar Assad remains in power.

“We have to counter terrorism, yes. But I believe that the main cause of all this is the regime in Syria, and this regime should be punished,” Sheikh Tamim said in an interview with CNN.

“..If we think that we’re going to get through the terrorist movements and leave those regimes doing what they — this regime especially, doing what he is doing — then terrorist movements will come back again,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview.

While Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have quickly joined the bombing campaign against the IS, Washington’s traditional Western allies had been slow to answer the call from US President Barack Obama.

Britain, Belgium and Denmark have now joined the US-led coalition of nations that are launching airstrikes on IS militants in Iraq, committing warplanes to the struggle against the extremists.

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron made a passionate plea that spelled out the consequences of inaction in drastic terms — noting that the militants had beheaded their victims, and gouged out eyes.

He said: “This is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us and we do have to realize that, whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us. There isn’t a ‘walk on by’ option. There isn’t an option of just hoping this will go away.”


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