Mar 24, 2023
Mar 24, 2023
These medieval marauding brutes of Islamic State of Iraq & Levant need to be stopped on their tracks. Working through a Caliphate these brutes are spreading death and depredation in the areas under their control which they now call simply the Islamic State (IS), after removing the names Iraq and Levant from its earlier avatar. The State poses a threat to life and security in the Middle East and elsewhere and is poised to absorb more and more areas in the region under it. It has piled up human rights abuses against it and the Caliphate’s dealings with adversaries, civilians, women, children, journalists and religious minorities have been unspeakably inhuman, brutal, cruel and utterly uncivilised.
Established in October 2006, the Islamic State of Iraq, as it was then named, began claiming authority over several provinces of the country. Gradually it expanded into other parts of Iraq and also into Syria, fulfilling its goal nursed since 2004 of establishing an Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) and re-named it as such. It now claims to control as many as 16 provinces in the two countries spread across the Iraq-Syrian border. IS is a Sunni extremist group that adheres to the global jihadist principles. The US Intelligence described it as no longer a militia but an army on the move – beyond being a terrorist group. It is reported to have incredible command and control systems with swift communicational facilities up and down the line; actually it is a well-oiled fighting machine.
IS is cruel to the core. With the beheading of two American journalists by its executioners and now a British aid worker it displayed its beastly side making the international media erupt into a frenzy of recriminations. But its crimes are far more brutal. From ordinary banditry to genocide is what seems to sustain it. During June 2014 Iraq conflict it released videos of indiscriminate killings of thousands of Iraqi civilians as they disliked their ethnicity, religion or sect. Shias have come in for special attention and they have been subjects of murderous attacks in which thousands have lost their lives. The IS brutes have also brazenly killed hundreds of Yazidis, an ethno-religious Kurdish community the ancient religion of which is linked to Zoroastrianism. Thousands of them have fled their native lands in the Nineveh province of North Iraq, a region once part of Assyria. The IS has also been particularly harsh on the Assyrian, Chaldean, Armenian and Syriac Christians. Like Mahamud of Ghazni, that 11th Century brute raider in India, they asked these hapless people to convert to Islam or face torture, mutilation or even death. Besides, photographs have recorded their cold-blooded en masse shooting of captured Syrian army men out in the open.
The IS men are ruthless with women who have been kidnapped and raped in large numbers. Sexual violence is rampant in all the areas controlled by IS where an upsurge was noticed in crime against women. “Kidnapping, torture, executions, rape and many other hideous crimes" are routinely committed without any let or hindrance. A stiff dress code has been imposed on women, non-compliance of which entails torture and humiliation. The Guardian reported that the IS’s agenda extended to women’s bodies and that women living under their control were being abused and raped. Captured Yazidi women are being raped as sex-slaves on daily basis. They are being made to narrate their experiences to foreigners only to inform the world how barbaric the IS rebels are. Around 500 Christian women captured from areas overrun by the IS have been sold as sex-slaves. It has even made overtures to Uighur girls in China to come and act as sex-slaves for them. These monsters are plumbing new depths of depravity although they claim to be ruling by Sharia, “religious law of a prophetic religion”.
Though there are few reliable figures but IS probably is the richest jihadist group in the world. It has accumulated wealth from the loot of about $430 million from the Mosul Central Bank after the city’s capture and additional millions looted from other banks. In addition the gold bullion stolen from banks has added millions to its coffers. The IS members are racketeers par excellence. They are into collecting ransom as also extortion from big businesses, gold retail outlets and even truck drivers. Analysts believe that it makes around $2 million every day from sale of oil of the oilfields captured in Northern Iraq and other rackets of extortions, smuggling and ransom it runs in the area under its control which is now believed to be approximately the size of UK. Observers feel the IS are as bad as Taliban, the only difference being they have oilfields under their control which makes them frightfully rich. In addition they have a large stockpile of arms and ammunitions looted from Saddam Hussain’s arms cache comprising various kinds of assault rifles, missiles, tanks, anti tank missiles, field guns, howitzers, surface-to-air missiles, stingers and so on building up capability to fight on stolen or captured equipment. It even captured a few Blackhawk helicopters and cargo planes stationed at the Mosul Airport and has thus become a formidable force which is unlikely to be subdued by the inadequately equipped Iraqi or Syrian forces.
Considering itself to be patron of both IS and the Syrian group of jihadists al-Nusra, Al Qaida was, however, against the merger of the two which was decided unilaterally by IS. Al Qaida fell out with IS on this issue as the latter paid no heed to its directives. Isolated, weakened, somewhat peeved and jealous of the giant strides taken by its one-time protégé, it has now threatened jihad in the Indian subcontinent with the cooperation of its host country Pakistan and Afghanistan. Obviously, weakened as it is, it will use the resources Pakistani and Afghani jihadists of Lashkar-e Toiba and the Talibans, respectively, of both the countries for a push into India. The Pakistani jihadists and their patrons in Pakistan Army would only be too glad at the prospects of getting a force-multiplier. Their combined forces along with the home-grown Indian Mujahideen could pose a massive threat to India’s security.
The rise of IS has been ascribed to the failure of the US before its pull-out from Iraq to build up capacity in the Iraqi Army and its paramilitary forces to confront such eventualities as emergence of IS. Hillary Clinton has also indirectly blamed the US failure to help build up a credible force against Bashar al Assad in Syria yielding space for the rise of jihadist organizations like al-Nusra. This is a repeat by US of its Afghan campaign from where it pulled out leaving the field open without a capable deterrent for the abhorrent Taliban and their mentor, the Pakistani ISI. Obama has now resolved to take the fight to IS calling it a cancer that needs to be liquidated before it poses serious threat to US lives and property. Only future will tell what the fall-out of this engagement will be on India, which is under as much threat. It has to shore up its resources to fight the new menace on its horizon. It would need to marshal its economic, financial and political strengths to meet this challenge.
More by : Proloy Bagchi
|As with every identification of evil, it is made from the standpoint of virtue. Thus, in war, each side will call the other side evil, demonise it. There is a mutually contradictory standard of what constitutes good and evil assumed by each side. For example, Hitler considered the setting up of the Third Reich a force for good in the world, while the democratic powers saw it as evil. The outcome was a protracted war costing millions of lives to resolve, in the victory, the real evil, Nazism. The apocalyptic scale of the war proved it to be a war of good against evil as to principle, but where evil had assumed the guise of good for one party. Overnight, the German people from raising the hand as a man in a Nazi salute, became the democratic people we know today, embracing the culture of the victors as the good and Nazism, with its culture of superiority of race, as evil once disguised as good. |
In the case of the rise of IS, the good that vindicates their cause is perceived as evil by the world with its contrary standard of good. The outcome is war to resolve the good, and reveal evil in its guise of good, where the hallmarks of evil are inhumanity in its full spectrum.
However, the Islamic cause is one that is as eternal as its God, where every occasion of its defeat in a militant form, even a crushing one as in Saddam's case, is viewed only as a setback. This appears to be the rock of IS that ultimately the Islamic cause they uphold as the truth is as timeless as the God they invoke. Should IS be eradicated in the war against them to prove them wrong in their theory of a lasting Caliphate, the potential will still be there for a certain element in the Muslim world feeling disenchanted by the success of democracy as an insult to their idea of Islam, to feel the compulsion to take radical reforming measures. The hallmarks of these will be inhumanity that is perceived by them as good; and the process repeated of vindicating humanity by appropriate action in war to eradicate the evil.
'That is not Islam!' is their response when peace-loving Muslims are told that IS represents an Islamic State. But that is Islam; or tell IS different. My view is that it is the idea of God in Islam that is fatally flawed in which such evil manifests itself in its most fervent adherents as disguises itself as good.