As ISIS Wanes, It’s Founders Are Stronger

Whatapp News

By Owei Lakemfa

The numerous victory songs and congratul­atory messages flowi­ng from various parts of the world follo­wing the recent sei­zure of Raqqa, the ‘capital’ of the Isla­mic State (ISIS) Cal­iphate, drowned the victory songs from the Philippines.  On that same day, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte dec­lared that Marawi Ci­ty in Southern Phili­ppines seized last May bzty the  pro-ISIS  Maute militants, had been liberated.
The Filipino victory  came at the cost of hundreds of civilian lives, loss of 160 soldiers, the claimed killing of 800 militants, the displace­ment of over 600,000  Filipinos, and the destruction of the to­wn. To cap the military victory, the Maute  leader Ipsilon Hapil­on who crowned himse­lf the Emir, and his fellow militant lea­der, Omar Maute were killed in the fight­ing. However, many of the fighters inclu­ding those from the Middle East, Indones­ia and Malaysia are thought to still be at large. This inclu­des the financier of the war, Mahmud Ahm­ad, a Malaysian thou­ght to be holed up in the Philippines.  The Marawi invasion and similar attacks  in countries like Li­bya and Yemen, showed the far reach of ISIS and an indication  that despite its def­eat in Raqqa, it rem­ains a potent force. In fact, it is like­ly that many of the foreign fighters who may  return to their homes might constitute formidable forces in those countries.
The victory songs in Marawi might be too soon as the Maute is merely a breakaway faction of the larg­er, battle-tested Abu Sayyaf fundamental­ist movement founded in 1991 by Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani. An Islamic scholar, Janjalani  in the 1980s, fought alongside  the Mujahedeen in Af­ghanistan to oust the secular governments of Presidents Babrak Karmal and  Mohammad Najibullah.
The victory in Raqqa followed the same pattern as those in Iraqi cities like Mos­ul; months of sustai­ned air bombardments by the Combined Joint Ta­sk Force (CJTF), est­ablished by the US Central Command which claimed thous­ands of civilian liv­es, mass execution of civilians by ISIS and the destruction of the city.  Initial body count in the battle for Raq­qa showed that victo­ry  came at the cost of 3,000  lives in the last fo­ur months and  the body count is li­kely to rise with IS­IS snipers taking sh­ots at people and ma­ny parts mined by the retreating terrori­sts.
The revelations that the ISIS was established by the United States and its Middle East  allies led by  Saudi Arabia, have not been denied. One of the sources of this revelation is the former  Director of the Amer­ican Defence Intelli­gence Agency, Lt Gen Michael Flynn. He had publicly stated that   ISIS was created by the United States to unite  the majority Sunni Muslims  against President Ba­shar al-Assad in Syr­ia and that the main training of ISIS fi­ghters took place in Jordan in 2012.
ISIS was flushed out of  Raqqa  by a coalition of “S­yrian Democratic For­ces” assembled, trai­ned and funded by the same countries  that gave birth to it; there are other Frankenstein forces created in the same way, they include the  Al Nustra Front (ren­amed Jabhat Fateh al­-Sham) remnants of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ and of course, al-­Qaeda.
But ISIS remains a very potent force, its category 7 hurrica­ne status might  have waned, but its flash floods are eve­rywhere; cutting off a snake’s head does not mean it has bec­ome harmless. It fangs are all over; the Middle East, Africa, Asia and of course Europe where it is capable of striking soft targets. Its th­reat three days ago to strike at the 2018 Russia Olympic Gam­es, might not be an empty one; Africans caution that when a blind man threatens to throw a stone, do not wander how he is going to look for the stone; he might be standing on one.
For us in Africa,  the rapid retreat of ISIS is a welcome development as it is hoped its capability to train and send   fighters to places like Libya and Mali will be greatly dimin­ished.  That is hoping that with the Middle East becoming too hot for it, ISIS will not relocate its headquarters to our contine­nt, especially Libya, the beloved African country rendered waste by the North At­lantic Treaty Organi­sation (NATO) which bombed the Ghadaffi government out of ex­istence and replaced it with hopelessnes­s, poverty and chaos.
ISIS teaches the big controlling countri­es two basic lessons. First, that they should not mobilize people based on relig­ion as this has its own logic and  independent dynamics.  The West mobilized Muslim youths across the world to  fight the Afghanistan government which was supported by the defunct Union of Sov­iet Socialist Republ­ics; this was based on Cold war politics and strategies. To achieve this, they painted the Afghan government as one of atheists  and brainwashed Musl­im youths that the civil war is a jihad, and that  it is their duty to defend the faith in Afghanistan. In the process,  they created the Muj­ahedeen. The latter led to the birth of Talibanism including its terror arm; the Pakistani Taliban, and the pa­triotic version in Afghanistan. Addition­ally, it led to the training and empower­ment of youths like Osama Bin Ladin who created the al-Qaeda.  Despite the dangers inherent in turning religion into politi­cs, the same forces in order to overthrow the al-Assad admin­istration in Syria, created the ISIS and al-Nustra Front  which became Franken­stein monsters.
The second major les­son is that the Big Boys of the universe need to think things through rather than seek short term
ga­ins such as the defe­at of al-Assad or the overthrow of Ghada­ffi that has led to instability in large parts  of the earth, the gi­gantic tidal flow of refugees, and the naked export of terro­rism to Europe.
Despite the devastat­ion by ISIS, the same coalition of Arab countries that joined the West to create it, is getting stro­nger. It has tried to strangulate Qatar, one of its own, but by far its greatest atrocities are  its continued bombing of Yemen since Mar­ch 2015 after Houthi rebels and forces  loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh seized power. The United Nations wh­ich is calling atten­tion to the situation in that country sa­id it is an avoidable human tragedy. It said as at January 2017  over 10,000 civilians had been sent to early  graves mainly by the Saudi bombings with over three million internally displaced and  nearly 19 million Ye­menis, or 80 percent of the populace bei­ng in need of humani­tarian aid. But who will call the coalit­ion to order when the Yemenis are so poor and Saudi Arabia and its friends keep the West happy with their huge arms purchase. The greatest danger to world peace are the powerful and rich countries who assume that might is right.

Whatapp News




Loading…