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Islamic State: The terror machine

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Islamic State or ISIS, as everyone knows, is a dreaded Sunni hardline terrorist organisation responsible for carrying out the most brutal and barbaric atrocities seen in our modern day. The horrendous and ruthless killings, along with its public airing by the way of high-quality videography, are enough to scar and traumatize many minds. People may think why such people and their ideology comes into being in the first place. Well, its because of a strong affiliation to an ideology that their religion is under attack and that in order to defend it, they must kill all the non-believers or convert them. Only then they will be granted entry into Heaven. This mindset, added with a dose of Wahabbism, has bred numerous terrorist organisations throughout the world.

Islamic State capitalised on various factors to come into being. Firstly, the US policy of dethroning Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad in which the US govt. trained, financed and armed “rebels” who were against Assad’s rule. Secondly, the Shia-Sunni sectarian tensions in Iraq that was readily exploited by the group. This tension has been going on since the dethronement of Saddam Hussein by the US military. Other factors can be lack of economic development, political instability, frequent meddling by foreign powers in the region and so on. All these led to the rise of terror machine called ISIS. Many across the globe got “inspired” by its rise and even pledged allegiance to it.

Important to note here is that it had more appeal on foreign soil. Foreign fighters, many of them educated and with good upbringing, traveled to the West Asian region to join the outfit and wage a war against the “West and its ideology”. ISIS even started prophesying about the “final war” against the “kuffars” that would ultimately pave the way for Islam to be the dominant religion of the world. Hereon, started the terrible era of ruthlessness that continued for subsequent years and made the whole world nervous. Initially, there was confusion as to how is it going to stop, who should take the responsibility to defeat it. US and its allies were hesitant to enter into yet another war in the region, but given that the US had already damaged the military capability of Iraq and Syria by destroying them, it had no option but to enter into a war with them, particularly for “defending the world against the menace of ISIS and terrorism”.

However, the US has not fully deployed its military, it has rather sent in its “military advisors” to assist the Iraqi soldiers in their fight against ISIS. Some NATO members, including the US, are also carrying out air raids in the terrorists’ hideouts. This, along with Russian intervention, participation by Shia and Kurdish militias, have significantly weakened ISIS. Although the territory under the militants’ control has shrunk, its ability to launch attacks has not, as is seen on an everyday basis. It has successfully launched lone-wolf attacks across many countries of the world, more recently in France and UK. This means their ideology is still potent and influential, something that needs to be tackled.

Efforts at the global level have been made by various countries, prominent among them being India and Russia, to evolve a consensus to define and defeat terrorism. India’s efforts at the United Nations (UN) to get the CCIT (Comprehensive Convention On International Terrorism) passed is laudable; but strong objections by Western countries have prevented its adoption. Moreover, China’s repeated abuse of its veto power to block the designation of Masood Azhar as an international terrorist is another upsetting factor. It clearly signifies lack of co-operation among countries and that countries define terrorism based on their own suitability. While we confront each other on what actually constitute terrorism, the terrorists’ co-operate and carry on with their brutal agenda.

An active collaboration amongst countries is required under the aegis of the UN to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the world. The new US President has resolved to “wipe out ISIS from the face of the earth”, and has also said that he is ready to co-operate with Russia to defeat the outfit. There hasn’t seem to be much co-operation as of now. China, who on various international forums condemns terrorism, radically alters its views when it comes to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, thereby frustrating India. In the absence of much-needed co-operation, it is impossible to fight terrorists’ and terrorism, and will only strengthen their hands paving the way for the rise of many more such outfits.

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