War is not new to Raqqa. The city was previously destroyed and occupied by Mongols who had settled there until they were expelled by force.
Today, Raqqa is about to finally be liberated from ISIS, which have carried out unimaginable heinousness against its people; documented and publicized by their own militants.
They have videotaped themselves committing mass murder, throwing people off rooftops, bragging about raping girls in schools, circulating news about killing foreigners and dragging people to forced labor.
Raqqa has become the world capital of horror after it transformed into a camp where terrorists from different countries and nationalities gathered, forming a terrorist army.
The reason why ISIS has chosen this city precisely as its capital is because of its oil wells and facilities, which can fund its scheme to become a state. The terrorist group has sold oil to whoever asked for it, and through its deals has reconciled with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus, who was their first customer.
In exchange for buying oil, ISIS has operated as an army for the Syrian regime’s Head Assad, fighting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other opposition factions and has participated in battles against Kurdish forces.
Regarding the U.S.-led coalition, the battle of Raqqa is its most important military and political work since five years. The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama needs a huge propaganda victory after escalated criticism against its submissive stance.
If Raqqa is liberated, it will be its only major military achievement since the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Liberating Raqqa from ISIS is also important because it will destroy the “caliphate” as a whole, not only its capital. It also counters the concept of the capital that implies the existence of an Islamic state; which is a virtual state on computer boards and not in real life.
By killing and clearing thousands of ISIS militants from their stronghold, the coalition will send a strong message to other extremist groups supporting ISIS and al-Nusra Front that have been using pictures in Raqqa to convince Muslim communities that they have succeeded in establishing a “caliphate” state.
Certainly, what is taped in Raqqa has boosted the extremists’ propaganda among youth, who have been lured by calls for jihad and have found the idea of establishing a caliphate attractive, unlike al-Qaeda’s concept in Afghanistan and Iraq that focused on the organization’s conception despite being able to transform cities like Fallujah into a mobilization zone.
In case the U.S.-led coalition was able to succeed in its attack in the coming few days and liberate Raqqa from ISIS, the coalition will benefit in terms of military and propaganda. Yet, what will follow this success?
Victory will be thrilling when reported on TV, but its results will be limited on the ground. We have previously witnessed how terrorist groups run away like mice and build new hiding places then resume their battle.
ISIS is expected to start minimizing its presence in Raqqa as it has already done in Iraq’s Anbar province before seizing the city of Mosul. It is also expected to then target other Syrian cities.
Apart from the propaganda gains of liberating Raqqa, the U.S.-led coalition will not succeed in curbing ISIS’s threat because the organization lives off chaos in Syria and benefits from the criminality of Assad’s regime against most of the citizens.
Millions of Syrians are displaced and millions have lost their relatives due to the Syrian regime’s crimes along with Iran, the so-called Hezbollah, and Russia, which are committing acts that are not less hideous than those committed by ISIS.
Around half a million Syrians have been killed in the past five years as a result of the insistence on keeping Assad in power.
Neither ISIS nor any other terrorist organization will find it difficult to recruit thousands of Syrians and others if they decide to revert to their old slogans that target Assad’s regime, which it later abandoned after declaring the caliphate all over the world.
ISIS will let Syrians join it now, especially after the northern borders, which allowed extremists to flow from different countries, were closed.
ISIS will lose its capital, and it will suffer a propaganda defeat worldwide. It may later lose the city of Fallujah in Iraq. However, these victories will not eliminate terrorism in Iraq and Syria as they are mere pursuits from one city to another.