Threat of Daeshification
The US led Western world has all along preferred autocratic and authoritarian Muslim rulers in Middle East who not only serve their interests but also keep their people under a tight leash. Arab rulers hungering for power and wealth have remained wholly dependent upon the US patronage and have merrily danced to the tunes of their patrons. So much so that rather than confronting Israel, which has been consistently tormenting Palestinians for decades and harbors imperialist designs to establish Greater Israel stretching from River Nile to Euphrates, they have befriended Israel. They regard Hamas, PLO and Hezbollah, the three entities that challenge Israel’s aggressive policies as terrorist groups. They have turned a blind eye to repeated invasions of Gaza and reign of terror unleashed against the people of Gaza and West Bank by Israeli forces. They have been sprinkling salt on the wounds of Palestinians rather than comforting them and making sincere efforts to solve the chronic Palestinian issue lying in the pending tray of the UN since 1948. They helped the west in invading Iraq in 1991 and to save their crowns they willingly allowed the US to establish military bases. They thus unwittingly compromised the sovereignty of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and other Gulf States. They once again helped western powers in 2003 to get rid of Saddam and to topple Qaddafi’s regime in 2011.
Arab rulers are actively involved in proxy war in Syria since 2011 to oust Bashar Al-Assad regime. They are least bothered about the US plans to change the boundaries of Middle East as spelled out by Col Ralph Peters in his article ‘Blood Borders’ along with a map published in US Defence Journal in 2006. Pentagon’s Memo which declared seven Muslim States in Middle East as targets is looked the other way. They are so engrossed in wealth making and merry making that they fail to notice slow and gradual brain drain and usurpation of wealth and neo-colonization of Muslim world under a calculated plan of the Zionist Jews and US neo-cons. The whole Middle East is in turmoil since 2003 and yet the sedated rulers are not prepared to open their eyes. They consider, Iran, Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda bigger threats than the US-NATO that have destroyed Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and bisected Sudan and are now presiding over the destruction of Syria and Yemen. KSA has got closer to Israel after the US-Iran nuclear deal and IS threat.
Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria that had strong military and could challenge Israel have been sufficiently weakened. Egypt is tied to peace treaty with Israel since 1978 and is once again under military rule, while Iraq stands divided on ethnic/sectarian lines and so is Syria. Libya and Yemen are engulfed in civil war. Ever growing chaos and instability in Middle East has created space for IS, which has carved out a State for itself stretching from Allepo in Syria to short of Dyala in Iraq. Its tentacles have spread to most countries in Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It intends to open offices in India and Bangladesh as well. KSA is confronted with threats from multiple directions. On one side is the threat of Houthis in Yemen, on the other is expanding Iranian arc and from the north is the IS threatening to capture Mecca and Medina. Two bomb blasts claimed by the IS have taken place in two cities of KSA.
Turkey is in catch-22 situation. On one hand it wants ouster of Assad in Syria, and on the other it wants elimination of Daesh and at the same time want to limit Kurdish capabilities in Syria and Iraq. It considers banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) aligned with Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) a threat despite the fact that the latter have successfully battled the IS in Kobane and recaptured it. Turkey is wary of both IS and Kurds gaining strength in northern Syria. It has permitted US air force to use its Incirlik airbase and the two have resolved to work towards creating IS free northern Syria since after the suicide bombing on July 27, Turkey is worried that violence may not spill over into its territory.
The IS, also known as Daesh, which came in the limelight in mid 2013 has morphed into biggest threat faced by the Arab monarchies and has overshadowed al-Qaeda. It has become a magnet for all Jihadi forces within and outside the Muslim world. The youth are joining Daesh in droves. Major reason why they are getting fatally attracted to Daesh is their utter disillusionment with their rulers because of their pro-western policies and remaining tied to the aprons of the US, lingering Palestinian issue, unabated Israeli belligerence and double standards of the west, repeated desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli troops, weakened welfare system and unemployment. They find their rulers playing the western game to divide and weaken Muslim Ummah. Under the prevalent pro-rich judicial and governance systems, they find their future dark. Injustices, poverty and insensitivity of the elite class have bred discontentment among the Arab youth and contributed in a significant way to the growth of religious extremism and terrorism. They have become desperate to get rid of parasitic rulers sucking their blood to make their lives more and more luxurious. They are convinced that the only system which is just and treats all on equal basis is Sharia practiced by Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the four Caliphs of Islam. Hence, they get attracted towards anyone raising the banner of Islam and promising Sharia.
The IS has gained an edge over all other so-called Islamist groups since it has territory under its control, caliphate, money, technical and media knowhow, managerial skills, chain of command with Abu Bakar Baghdadi as the undisputed leader who has declared himself as the caliph. The group has demonstrated its prowess in the battlefield and are holding on to captured territories and making further gains in Iraq. It has gained footholds in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Turkey and Afghanistan. KSA and Jordon have become very vulnerable. KSA instead of fighting the IS in collusion with other Muslim armies has accepted the US as the leader of the coalition. It fails to take into cognizance that CIA was behind the creation of IS in 2006 in Baghdad. The group kept changing names from Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) to Islamic State of Iraq & Sham (ISIS) and then to IS. There are strong indications that both the US and Israel are still tacitly supporting the IS to serve their interests. This becomes plausible after seeing that the guns of Daesh have remained silent against Israel and US targets. Ironically, the IS has not come to the aid of Palestinians, Kashmiris and Rohingyas. Instead of pursuing golden principles of Islam, the IS pursues the extremist ideology of Kharijis, Salafis and Al-Qaeda. It believes in violence and bloodshed. Rather than bleeding the west, it is bleeding the Muslims which suit the imperialist powers.
The US and its allies have been fighting the global war on terror since October 2001 to eliminate terrorism from the face of the earth. Almost 15 years have gone by and terrorism instead of getting eliminated or even curbed has further expanded and become more deadly since it has given birth to dozens of terrorist groups in affected Muslim countries. The only country that can claim to have achieved some results is Pakistan but it had to pay a very heavy price to dismantle all the bases of TTP and its affiliates in FATA and Swat. Pak Army gave peace a chance and also used force as well as adopted pacification measures to be able to gain an upper edge. It is well poised to take on the threat of Daesh provided Afghanistan cooperates and India, US and UK stop playing a double game. Afghan Taliban under Mullah Omar are also capable of tackling Daesh in Afghanistan provided infighting between them and ANA stops and both train their guns against Daesh. However, force alone will never eliminate extremism and terrorism. Apart from doctoring root causes which breed extremism, application of Sharia as provided for in our constitution and enshrined in Holy Quran and making Pakistan a true welfare state as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam are the only remedies to beat back threat of Daeshification in Pakistan.
The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP.