The Islamic State group will only be stopped by a multi-faceted approach. Photo: militant website
The Islamic State group will only be stopped by a multi-faceted approach. Photo: militant website

There is no single way to combat the Islamic State



Reversing the Islamic State’s recent successes will not be a simple matter, and the solution will not be found solely in military might. Nor can it be achieved just by targeting foreign jihadis or in cutting off the group’s sources of funding. Instead, taking all those measures – and more – is the only realistic way to prevent the Islamic State growing stronger and bolder.

This package of responses must be done soon. In this context particularly, success tends to beget success and fighters with other militant opposition groups in Syria are being tempted to join the Islamic State’s forces.

To its credit, the international community is rising to the challenge. As The National reported, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have agreed to comply with a new United Nations Security Council resolution to cut off financing and other forms of material support for the Islamic State and for Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, Jabhat Al Nusra. Six citizens – including two Saudi and two Kuwaiti – were named in the resolution as being part of the blacklisted Islamic State group. They could face loss of their citizenship.

There can be no doubt that the Islamic State is on the front foot. Advocates of the group were handing out leaflets in London a week ago, urging support for the new self-declared caliphate and saying: “The dawn of a new era has begun.” Similarly a photograph was taken of the Islamic State logo displayed on a smartphone screen outside the White House in Washington DC. It was tweeted as “a message from ISIS to US” that the group was “in your state, in your cities, in your streets”.

While these two incidents are of little more than symbolic stunts, it demonstrates a confidence that is drawing members of other jihadi groups into the Islamic State’s fold, making it stronger and improving its stated plan to expand further into Iraq.

Choking off the funding sources will diminish the intertwined factors of the Islamic State’s appeal and its capability. These kind of jihadist groups do not run on zealotry alone and require cold hard cash and other forms of material support for their success on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

Just as the flow of money has helped the Islamic State attract other militants to join it, cutting off those funding sources will help destabilise the group and lessen its aura. Together with military intervention of the kind that put Mosul Dam back under Iraqi control, the Islamic State can be defeated – as can the twisted ideology that prompted its rise.

Race card

5.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,400m

6.05pm: Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,400m

6.40pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

7.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 1,200m

7.50pm: Longines Stakes – Conditions (TB) Dh120,00 (D) 1,900m

8.25pm: Zabeel Trophy – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (T) 1,600m

9pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 2,410m

9.35pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (T) 2,000m

THE BIO

Born: Mukalla, Yemen, 1979

Education: UAE University, Al Ain

Family: Married with two daughters: Asayel, 7, and Sara, 6

Favourite piece of music: Horse Dance by Naseer Shamma

Favourite book: Science and geology

Favourite place to travel to: Washington DC

Best advice you’ve ever been given: If you have a dream, you have to believe it, then you will see it.

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

FIGHT CARD

Anthony Joshua v Otto Wallin, 12 rounds, heavyweight

Deontay Wilder v Joseph Parker, 12 rounds, heavyweight

Dmitry Bivol v Lyndon Arthur, 12 rounds, light heavyweight

Daniel Dubois v Jarrell Miller, 12 rounds, heavyweight

Filip Hrgovic v Mark de Mori, 12 rounds, heavyweight 

Arslanbek Makhmudov v Agit Kabayel, 12 rounds, heavyweight 

Frank Sanchez v Junior Fa, 12 rounds, heavyweight 

Jai Opetaia v Ellis Zorro, 12 rounds, cruiserweight

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888