Former MI6 intelligence head Richard Barrett has claimed that airstrikes against Islamic State group militants currently being conducted by Russia and France will not eliminate its forces. Instead, he said, thinking that military might could remove the operations will force them to "go underground."
Barrett added that there would be "much more work and a much longer-term, much more generational-type struggle" to defeat ISIS militants. "There's actually no point in destroying it," he told Al Jazeera English in a televised interview.
Instead, Barrett called for a political solution to the problem ISIS presents, following a series of terrorist atrocities committed against foreign targets in its name, including the massacre at the Radisson Blu hotel in the Mali capital of Bamako Friday that left 19 dead and the attacks in Paris Nov. 13 that included a death toll of 130 people.
Speaking to Al Jazeera English, Barrett, who also served as head of the U.N.'s Monitoring Team on al Qaeda and the Taliban from 2004 to 2013, insisted that the whole point of terrorism is to polarize people -- a strategy that cannot be solved by weapons of war.
"The whole point of terrorism, and particularly the form of terrorism we are seeing in Syria, is to force people off the fence -- you're either with those people or you're with us -- and that polarization of society is a very important element if Islamic State strategy," he said.
Forces from the U.S. and France, along with Russian forces, which are said to be aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad, have been bombing ISIS-held targets in the Middle Eastern country.
Barrett said that although he understood the French government was increasing its bombing campaign in Syria following the Paris attacks, inevitably the strategy would make the country "more of a target" for ISIS terrorists.