There is no point in sending ground troops to fight IS because we would be making the same mistake as was made in Iraq, Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders said in an interview with Thursday’s AD.
‘Surely we shouldn’t let ourselves be lured in by a rabble of nihilists and half nut cases?’ Koenders said.
IS, he said, ‘is an intelligent movement which sets traps for us and we should not get caught. Send in ground troops? Then we would be making the same mistake as in Iraq. No, this is the transformation of the Middle East and the Middle East has to do it. With our help, of course.’
The Netherlands, Koenders pointed out, is training Iraqi soldiers and carrying out bombing raids with F16s. Currently, the Netherlands only takes part in bombing campaigns above Iraq. Koenders did not rule out bombing Syria but said ‘I don’t think it would be sensible for everyone to start flying around there’.
The fact that the US, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia are now sitting down together and talking about Syria is ‘a victory’, Koenders said. Syrian president Assad, he said, remains an obstacle to peace in the region because he has ‘so much blood on his hands’.
‘We all know that is a problem but first we have to deal with something else – arranging a cease-fire. Then we can deal with the other issue.’
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