Nicolas Hénin is a French journalist who was held hostage by ISIS for nearly a year before being released in 2014. Hénin was held captive with several journalist friends who were murdered by ISIS, including American reporter James Foley.
Though he escaped with his life, Hénin experienced ISIS’ brutality firsthand. Based on that experience, he has a warning for the West: “Strikes on ISIS are a trap.”
Following the recent attacks in Paris, Hénin released a video urging western governments to reconsider their intention to respond with increased intervention in the form of more bombing campaigns in Syria.
With increased military intervention, he argued, we “are just fueling our enemies and fueling the misery, the disaster for the local people.” Western attacks on the Middle East fit right into ISIS’ narrative, create blowback, and feed the terrorists’ propaganda about a war on Islam.
“The winner of this war will not be the party that has the newest, the most expensive or the most sophisticated weaponry,” Hénin continued. Instead, it will be “the party that manages to win over the people inside. At the moment, with the bombings, we are more like pushing the people into the hands of ISIS.”
So what actually works against ISIS? One thing Hénin mentions, which is particularly timely, is kindness toward refugees.
“The refugee crisis last summer was a blow to ISIS propaganda,” he remarks, because when refugees were “being welcomed” in “the land of unbelievers,” it showed Syrians that ISIS’ claims about “western hatred towards Muslims was a scam.”