By: Arsalan Bashir
Islamabad: Islamic State (IS), formally known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is perhaps the single most dangerous factor in the world today. The very politico-socioeconomic structure of the Middle East has been perished by these modern militants. There never had such a force in the world before. The United Nation (UN) Human Refugee Agency has termed the situation in Middle East as a worst human tragedy of this century. Never the earth has seen such a huge number of refugees on the face of earth before.IS has been on the offensive since June last year. The likely spillover of the IS would be uncontrollable for the world. They have captured a number of strategic towns and oil refineries in a bid to retain their control and expand their tyrant rule. They have managed to make Iraqi forces flee from Mosul and Tikrit. They, at one time, threatened to subdue whole of Iraq.
Moderate Sunnis loathe IS for its tyranny and ruthlessness; Shias have been threatened and persecuted in the very hands of these terrorists. The kurds, Iran, Russia and whole of West feel insecure and despise them.
When the world has been confronted with such a grave threat, is it not the time to ask what makes IS different from other terrorist and militant groups operating across the globe. If IS succeeds, the sectarian rift would do an irreparable loss in many Muslim countries and the horror would be unimaginable.
A western Journalist who visited the IS last month, and is the only known journalist to visit IS areas and returned safely, commented the threat is even bigger than the perceptions of western leaders. The integrity, human civilization and rule of law have been trampled with.
The IS has change the whole landscape in the terrorist world. Militant groups across the world never stood so alienated before the emergence of IS. The IS, who is being targeted by Air missiles, Iranian forces and Assad regime on the ground and has endured more than eight thousand bombs from air, nonetheless manages to gain more and more power each day. Still, what makes and is continuously making IS strong?
Consider this, IS has the highest income and is considered one of the wealthiest terrorist group in the world. The group has been selling oils from the territory under its control. They have been ruling the local smuggling routes and providing oil to local mafias on deferred payments.
The Assad forces have witnessed defection in their ranks. IS attracts and recruits hundreds of young men and women from all parts of the world. They have managed to outshine all terrorist organizations who ever had a reputation of torture and barbarism.
We are also witnessing the new development in terrorist world in form of growing rift among Taliban, Al-Qaida and Islamic State. It is the war of power, the war of throne, the war for Caliphate. Al-Nusra (representative of Al-Qaeda in Iraq) who fought alongside the loyalists of Baghdadi now kills members of IS with sheer coldness. There is only one thing they demand, a caliphate should be from their own ranks not from any other group who-so-ever it might be.
Why do we not consider it, if these organizations have been strangled with such multi-layered intra and inter organizational feuds, that how they manage to keep growing strong every day? Are we making some kind of mistake in understanding this whole nexus of terrorism?
The world, obviously, have wasted a lot of time in understanding and deciding a definite course of action against them. The world has deliberately let many opportunities go in the past years. Were not the very forces, bombing IS today, sponsored them in the past? Did Western world and their Arab allies not provide IS with all kinds of ammunition for warfare?
We seemed to have not learned from our mistakes. We used to support them in the past and today we call them our enemies and a threat to human civilization. The only course of action we end up having is to try to eliminate them with guns and bombs.
Over a dozen armed states of the world bomb IS every day. This is not a war that can be fought only with gun and military might. There is another aspect of it and that is called ‘ideology’. This is the era of ideological warfare where propaganda rules supreme. Today, the world completely focuses its attention on eliminating the menace of IS with guns and Air power. Are not we missing something about it? West needs to look a little deeper if it really wants to get rid of this threat.
On the one hand, IS is minting its own coin, distributing literature, preparing new generation for their obscure agenda, distributing parenting guides for parents on how to make better jihadis out of them in the next generation. On the other, there is no visible effort to answer the propaganda of Jihad with logic and under religious teachings.
There is a need to make war against IS all inclusive ensuring the participation of all segments. There is a need to highlight the views and rulings of Ulemas who have disparaged and declared them against religious beliefs. If the opponents of IS do not make this their priority, the war cannot be won in next thousands of years. People would then be justified to think that the western forces had themselves designed this grand plot for their ulterior motives.
The writer is a Public Policy practitioner who tweets at: @ChArsalanBashir