Islamic State or the Faith Catch

When in 2003 George Bush decided that the military operation in Iraq was a way of combating international terrorism, al-Qaida did not have a foothold in that country. A decade later, the so-called Islamic State, an offshoot of a branch of al-Qaida in Iraq, controls territory stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Falujah, Mosul and Tel Afar in Iraq.

The Islamic State has territory and economic resources because of the exploitation and sale of petroleum and agricultural resources, in addition to a full range of organized crime and terrorist acts. Their control spans a territory in which 8 million people live.

After a decade of foreign occupation, a radical Islamic presence in Iraq really is a problem now. Something went wrong for George W. Bush and his allies, and now we are seeing Iraqi terrorists, with ten thousand armed men, executing American journalists online.

But the problem goes beyond the presence of foreign troops. The existence of the Islamic State, the worst threat in recent times from jihadis, seems to be the result of the combination of three factors: the weakness of the state (both in Syria and Iraq); sectarianism on the part of the Iraqi state (which produced an ideal breeding ground for al-Qaida among the Sunnis); and abundant economic resources, first coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and now from the spoils of war.

During the rule of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni minority held political and territorial control, with a powerful army and an efficient intelligence service. When they were overthrown, power transferred to the Shiite majority. Perhaps the Western foreigners deposed of the wrong enemy and the regional foreigners decided to correct the error, supporting whoever was in favor of the Sunnis. Al-Qaida took advantage of the Sunnis’ discontent in order to put their roots down in Iraqi society and start a new jihad.

The Islamic State appeared in 2006 and started to position itself in the west of Iraq. In 2011, the prevailing chaos in Syria seemed like a great opportunity, and a group of jihadis led by Abu Mohammad al-Golani, were founded against al-Nusra in the northwest of Syria, thereby becoming the most powerful, bloodthirsty extremist rebel group among the Islamic radicals. This allowed the Islamic State to seize land and the means of production, as well as developing a huge network of illegal trade, organized crime and terrorism in an area that had become a no-man’s land.

The pincers closed for the leader of the so-called Islamic State, Abu Bakr al–Baghdadi, who decided to separate from al-Qaida and operate on his own. In June of this year, he took Mosul and proclaimed the Islamic State as a caliphate. The Sunni lords of the north, disagreeing with the sectarian politics of Bagdad, provided him with their support. The al-Qaida leader in Iraq, Ayman Zawahiri, publically withdrew his support in February this year. The students have surpassed the teacher in audacity and cruelty.

The loss of territorial control cost Nuri Al Malaki his office as Prime Minister of Iraq, being replaced a few days ago by Haidar al Abadi, the United States and Iran’s new man in Baghdad – who, in this story, would appear to be allies. It is he who must oppose sectarian extremism and territorial dismemberment in the midst of a debacle.

Now Barack Obama, George W. Bush’s successor, is in search of allies to combat an enemy more powerful than al-Qaida, whose law is one of force and whose justification is Shariah (Islamic law) and who is unceremoniously executing American citizens. Someone in Washington did not understand that the political-religious equation in the Islamic world is the real faith catch. And everything seems to indicate that we are witnessing the start of a new war.

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About Stephen Routledge 180 Articles
Stephen is a Business Leader. He has over twenty years experience in leading various major organisational change initiatives. Stephen has been translating for more than ten years for various organisations and individuals, with a particular interest in science and technology, poetry and literature, and current affairs.

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