The meeting of the European ministers of interior and justice on the eve of the big Paris rally and the announcement of American President Barack Obama’s intention to call for an international summit to discuss the situation of the war on terrorism all reinforces returning once again to the atmosphere which prevailed after the Sept. 11, 2001 incidents in the military campaign being launched against the Islamic State, which some prefer to describe as the “Third World War.”
The current war is unlike the two previous world wars; it has won the description of a “world” war because it extends over a wide area, but has a unique nature, and in some instances, it seems that these countries, the security apparatus, planes and armies, are fighting a “ghost” or an imaginary jelly-like creature capable of reconfiguration and of easily repositioning itself; this war is even capable of adapting to the complicated conditions which massive armies are incapable of dealing with or confronting, as is the case with the “composite war” which the Islamic State group and its supporters from different countries across the world are conducting today.
The focus is still on the efforts of countries in a war against results and outcomes and not against the conditions and reasons which stand behind the rise of this organization. The discussions during the European meetings are based on building a joint database, reconsideration of the Schengen Agreement (related to the unified European visa) and the strengthening of border control and transportation procedures. Such procedures can partially limit the “dropouts joining that organization” phenomenon, but they don’t constitute a successful solution and are not a cure. There are various methods which these networks resort to in order to evade these procedures; besides, the swift pace of recruitment and the reliance on the Internet to a great extent makes the issue of identifying candidates and following up on them very difficult.
More importantly, you can prevent them from travelling, but you can’t prevent them from belonging to this ideological model and instead of the time bomb being outside your territories, it will be residing in your lap. This is exactly what happened in Canada when one of those people who were prevented by the authorities from leaving Canada conducted a retaliatory operation. This specific matter arises from the fact that the Islamic State group, together with branches of al-Qaida, now adopt the so-called “individual jihad,” and the existence of what experts dub as “individual wolves;” any person can adopt these ideas through the Internet by equipping himself with simple tools and engaging in individual operations after announcing membership and loyalty to these organizations as we saw in Paris or before it in Sydney and Canada, and earlier in the United States.
From another angle, the United States is actually capable of limiting the capabilities of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, but the problem today exceeds the current form of what we call the “model.” This ideology had become like a message or a virus which spreads over the Internet reaching the whole world; thus, even if the group is demolished in one place, its “model” appears somewhere else, as long as the reasons and conditions that produce it exist and are available.
The bottom line is that what is lagging behind in the global war is examination into the background of the enemy and its real sources of power and dealing with the conditions and factors, not just the results. To sum things up, there is a huge central problem in the Arab region, and a historical crisis in Sunni societies without looking into this black hole, one of its keys being the sick authoritarian regimes coupled with the insistence on an outdated ruling system; and as long as the world turns its face away from this fundamental reasoning, the conflict will continue to resemble an illogical confrontation with ghosts capable of hiding and resurfacing in a different time and place!