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Endless Enemies: The Grip of ISIL across the US and the Third World
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Anant Mishra | Date:19 Aug , 2015 2 Comments
Anant Mishra
is a security analyst with expertise in counter-insurgency and counter-terror operations. His policy analysis has featured in national and international journals and conferences on security affairs.

Operating from Syria, Iraq, Libya and other areas of the Middle East, the Islamic State and ash-Sham, (ISIL in short), has been on everyone’s lips by now. Their objective is quite simple – caliphate: obtaining religious, political and military control over all Muslims worldwide. No matter how the means of achieving would be(brutal andtelevised executions, terrorists operations). Because of their terror operations in the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Egypt, India, and Russia, the global world declared ISIL a “terrorist organization”.

This was an example of a tactical failure of the superpower, re-tasking the forces back to a fight which was moreover “civil” in nature.

ISIL emerged in the late 1999, and was renamed as Al Qaeda in the Middle East. Using the unstable situation during Iran – Iraqi Insurgency, March 2003 invasion against Saddam Hussein’s government (when Iraq was attacked by combined forcesof USA, UK, Australia and Poland) and the Iraq War (2003-2011) –they knew what was coming and they established themselves in a country where “war” was on its way. A small portion of the group also established itself in the war torn Syria, exploiting the country’s position, waging war, and infesting the Sunni Muslim ideology. In the beginning of February 2014, al-Qaeda completely separated itself from the ISIL, by a now a larger group perhaps, and on 29th June 2014, the group finally renamed itself as the “Islamic State”.

In the early 2014, ISIL marched towards Iraq, gaining territories after territories as Iraqi forces collapsed. Few months later, the government collapsed. This drew America’s attention and the “home going” US forces were reintegrated in the “collapsed” country. This was an example of a tactical failure of the superpower, re-tasking the forces back to a fight which was moreover “civil” in nature. The atrocities conducted by the Islamic State has been condemned by the global world. ISIL became notorious for its web and social media propaganda, which includes YouTube videos of the beheadings, as well as the destruction of numerous heritage sites. Militant attacks such as the one in Paris or the most recent one in Kenya, of which another notorious militant group militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, have begun operating more frequently than the past (Al-Shabaab is not a part of ISIL, it is however a yet another example of Islamic radicalism). The Islamic world however have condemned the actions of ISIL, heavily criticising their ideology and claiming that they have misrepresented Islam.

The growing Inhumanity

ISIL has been responsible for the abuse of human rights, radically representing Islam, carrying out military operations, throwing of people from the buildings, indiscriminately killings and murdering people in the name of Islam – this is where the problem lies, while the same are the building blocks of insanity. Another problem that adds to the existing circumstances are the connections with other military organizations in the world, which has acted (on numerous occasions) destabilization of nations.

With terrorists operations, mass killings and increasing atrocities, the Islamic State possess a grave threat to the citizens residing in the impacted nations.

The Ideology

It is hard to identify who rose up in the ranks and formed a terrorist organization. But on the other hand it is very important to understand that Islam cannot be blamed for the rise of ISIL in the Middle East and in the world. The Islamic State does not represent Islam, it simply pretends it does.

Assessing the Impact

As of today, ISIL impacts the entire Middle East. With terrorists operations, mass killings and increasing atrocities, the Islamic State possess a grave threat to the citizens residing in the impacted nations. The worst are Iraq and Syria, forcing the governments to focus on yet another problem (right after Civil War). However terror operations are not only limited in the Middle East at all. With its connections to the terrorist world, some have already felt their breath on their back in Europe and beyond.

The Uncertain Future

With the absence of decisive actions against the Islamic State from military superpowers, and rapidly destabilization of Iraq and Syria, ISIL has fortified its positions even more. They are leeches, feeding upon the weak political system, destroying everything that comes between their “religious beliefs”. Hence the call fora direct action against the militants is all that lacks. It would not be wrong to say that “Indecisiveness in actions to some extent allowed for the further spread of ISIL.”

As of now, it is quite hard to assume what ISIL is up to, but it is very certain that there is no stop to it, their radical methods will continue. As a matter of fact, there is a chance that additional territorial attacks and militant acquisitions of regions in Iraq and Syria will continue, which would create further destabilization of Iraq and Syria while posing a grave threat to the world as a whole, more prominently the Europe.

…ISIL out is something widely impossible especially understanding their strength and reach in the global world.

Possible Solutions

With ISIL on the verge of violating every human right to achieve its quest, the United Nations on the other hand have to take some strong moves. Speaking “optimistically”, the solution should comprise complete annihilation of the Islamic State, which would not only involve breaking up their link in the Middle East and destroying their militia, but also all the weapons and ammunitions they have in their deposition. Although this scenario is very unrealistic, as it would not only require heavy military support but also require accurate intelligence, but again “wiping” ISIL out is something widely impossible especially understanding their strength and reach in the global world.

Now coming back to the actual solutions, it is important to look back in the past what UN and superpower nations such as the US has done so far. The UN had imposed sanctions of all personal and economical nature, in an attempt to strike down the powers of ISIL. No addressing the situation with the real time effect, it has done no practical benefits to the west and to the UN, and ISIL shows no signs of being weakened. So, was the decision to impose sanctions a forced one or was it the only action UN was capable of doing, I leave it for the member states to decide.Now coming to the superpower United States and Obama’s letter to the Congress, time will show whether Obama will get a clearance to march right up to the enemies or bomb miles away from the battleground.

Noticing the fact that some of the democrats are opposing the letter, it is quite hard to believe that the US will get its “feet wet”. So, now the question is, Can direct military action solve the problem of an armed organization such as ISIL? The answer to this question is quite “disputed”,we need to understand two things here, whether to use a force against a brutal force,along with the power of balance followed by the parties playing roles in this discussion.  Choosing the “weak” actions (such as the ones taken already) and possibly the forceful ones (US military involvement) policy makers have to decide what is best; keeping in mind that most fierce actions are also the most damaging ones.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

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2 thoughts on “Endless Enemies: The Grip of ISIL across the US and the Third World

  1. It is wrong to say terrorism of the ISIS kind has ‘nothing’ to do with ‘religion’.To deny any link between the world wide epidemics of Islamist violence since 2001 is akin to denying that the Nazi ideology played a key part in the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust. The media in the West try and explain the madness by saying young people from the Muslim community are merely seeking a thrill and a sense of identity when joining ISIS or committing atrocities or terrorist acts. What the authorities mean to say (laudably) is that Terrorism does not equate with Islam for fear of tarring the whole Islamic community with the same brush. However ISIS and other terrorists are very religious but from a narrow cult of Islam called the Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri Jihadi. To kill ISIS humanity, including Muslims must confront this puritanical and fanatical cult’s ideology. See How to defeat ISIS and other Wahhabi Salafi extremists Empower the voice of moderate Islam: In The Great Theft, Khaled Abou El Fadl, one of the world’s preeminent Islamic scholars, argues that It is this rift between the quiet voice of the moderates and the deafening statements of the extremists that threatens the future of the faith.slam is currently passing through a transformative period no less dramatic than the movements that swept through Europe during the Reformation. At this critical juncture there are two completely opposed worldviews within Islam competing to define this great world religion. The stakes have never been higher, and the future of the Muslim world hangs in the balance.

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