Dutch Foreign Minister opposes ground troops against ISIS

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No image availableNL Times

Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs is opposed to the Netherlands sending ground troops in the fight against terrorist organization Islamic State. He thinks that by deploying ground troops, the Netherlands will be repeating past mistakes and walking into ISIS traps.

"It is a complicated opponent: ISIS is a state, a terrorist movement, an ideology. An intelligent movement that sets traps for us. And we must not step in them", the Minister said in an interview with newspaper AD. "Send ground forces? Then we're making the same mistake as previously in Iraq. No, this is a transformation in the Middle East, and should be done by the Middle East itself. With our help."

Koenders is also opposed to closing the borders to refugees due to fear of attacks. "These people are fleeing from exactly what we fear. Attacks also happened before the refugee flow began. Let's screen maximally and effectively. That is what it is about now. And let's not poison the debate on refugees with attacks. That's exactly what ISIS wants."

The Minister acknowledges that approaching the fight against ISIS in this way may mean that the fight will continue for some time yet, possibly with more attacks on European ground. "But we can do a lot to avoid it. Many attacks in Europe have been avoided with good intelligence work. The fight against ISIS is going to take time, that's true, but we must address it very wisely." he said. "ISIS is partly on the losing side. They have suffered serious defeats at some places in Syria and Iraq. I think that is why these terrible things are happening now. First that Russian plane, now Paris: that is no coincidence. Precisely because they are militarily in trouble, the are shifting to attacks in the West."