MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova — Contacts with the local population on the territories controlled by Islamic State (IS) extremists should be at the core of the fight against the group, a senior Russian diplomat told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
Adviser to the deputy head of the Federation Council, Ambassador Andrei Baklanov explained how challenges the IS are facing could be used against the extremists.
"The Islamic State … face problems on the ground: they constantly have to re-negotiate with local tribes' leaders, and it is becoming more and more difficult, because in the conditions of war, the population is suffering and starts pressing their leaders in order to stop the military situation. This is what we can count on," Baklanov said.
"And this is why we should employ ideological and political means to get in touch with the population," he added.
The diplomat said that efforts by the United States to defeat the IS with military force have failed.
"We see that there is a stalemate now, and in the current context the development scenario should be changed from a clearly military one to the one influencing the people who are there," Baklanov said.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring in June a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
In an attempt to impede the military advancement of the group, the United States has launched airstrikes against the jihadists' positions in Iraq and Syria, with Washington forming a broad international coalition of its allies to crack down on the militants.