Friday's deadly attacks in Paris are forcing Europe and the US to 'rethink their options' on the West's battle against ISIL, even prompting them to consider a closer partnership with Moscow in the aim of crushing the terror threat, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The business newspaper explains that "thirty minutes of terror on the streets of Paris looks to become the catalyst for a broad shift in international politics with implications that could last for years."
Recalling that "much of the focus of the West over the past year has been on a perceived growing threat from Russia," with "terrorism…a real, but containable problem," now, following "a series of well-coordinated strikes, Islamic State put the threat of terrorism back at the center of the international agenda."
As a result, WSJ notes, "Russia, far from a nuclear-armed enemy, instantly presented itself as a partner –one with a plan for immediately tamping down on the threat."
Russia's proposal – to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, "at least temporarily, as the best way of tackling Islamic State –has been unpalatable to the US and, up to now, France, which has been one of Mr. Assad's fiercest international critics. That position," the paper says, "could well be changing."
Noting that Friday's attacks have "sharply increased the geopolitical stakes over Syria," and that they are likely "to intensify Western military and diplomatic efforts there," WSJ explains that they nevertheless will not lead to "large numbers of boots on the ground," with Western countries' "appetite…colored by the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Thus, with the US promising only to intensify its existing campaign of airstrikes, and to share more intelligence with France "to help that country better strike Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria," the West could, according the paper, now also be forced to make "an uncomfortable compromise…with Russia," whom Western leaders had earlier accused of interfering or even intervening militarily in Ukraine.
With President Vladimir Putin repeatedly bringing up the need for closer cooperation between Russia and the West in the fight against terrorism since September's UN General Assembly meeting in New York, "Moscow is apparently hoping," WSJ suggests, "that there will be a deal a deal in which cooperation over Syria leads to an easing of Western sanctions over Ukraine. Up until now, European officials have resisted any such linkage."
And while the WSJ absurdly concludes its analysis with the suggestion that "any de facto coalition with Moscow," which "would likely reinforce the Assad regime…could backfire by pushing Sunni Muslims who oppose him into a corner," its core message, that Western countries could now change their tone toward Russia, at least in the fight against jihadist terror, is something which can only be welcomed.