Growing danger

The rise of Islamic State

The Middle East and indeed the world has been in a state of political turmoil ever since July 4, when 42-year-old Iraqi jihadist leader who fights under the name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his group IS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) declared an Islamic Caliphate comprising large parts of Northern Syria and Eastern Iraq and that he would henceforth be known as caliph Ibrahim, emir of the faithful in the Islamic state.

Sunni Muslims believe that the caliph is the chosen representative of Allah and Muslim Ummah throughout the world must obey his dictates while he goes about establishing the rule of Sharia.

The entire Middle East including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Jordan along with Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia and large swathes of Africa have been identified as the immediate targets for subjugation by the Islamic caliphate.

This caliphate follows an ideology so rabidly sectarian that even Ayman al Zawahri the head of Al Qaeda is worried that terrorists the world over, will defect to IS at the expense of other Jihadist outfits like Al-Qaeda, Taliban and LeT, thus far affiliated to and drawing inspiration from the former. The Boko Haram of Nigeria is already reported to have joined hands with the IS.

This new caliphate is doing terrible things to the people living in areas under its control. They have particularly targeted Christians and the Yazidi, tens of thousands of whom were trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq till relieved through US military intervention. They have no intention to spare other semi infidels like the Shia and Ahmedia Muslims not to speak of Jews and Hindus.

Young women are being brain washed to offer themselves for sex to the IS fighters. Some have tried to justify this as legitimate Jihad while others have justified forcing these women to provide sexual service as relief and recreation to those fighting the infidels in the name of Allah.

The good news for us in India is that our government was able to rescue 46 nurses and a large number of Indian nationals trapped between warring factions in Iraq but there still are many more trapped in the region. Bad news also is that several young men from India are reported to have joined IS as volunteers.

US airstrikes have somewhat slowed down the IS advance to Baghdad but government forces are nowhere close to regaining control of Northern parts of Sunni Iraq adjoining Syria. Although, US, Russia and Iran have interest in stopping IS there is little international coordination and cooperation, necessary to gain an upper hand over the forces of international wahabi Jihad. The US is unable to decide between supporting president Asad or the Syrian rebels while Jordan and Turkey are fighting shy of joining battle with the IS.

Struggle for a balanced regime
US policy on Iran and the Russian adventure in Ukraine continue to scuttle any serious efforts to unitedly fight this Islamic menace to the modern world. A devastated and ethnically divided Iraq is unable to bring forth a regime seen to accommodate the religious, territorial and socio political interests of the Sunni, Shia and Kurdish segments of Iraqi society.

The international community (Western powers) are undecided on their role and responsibility in controlling and defeating this dangerous terrorist idea. It will be worthwhile to assess the impact this civil war can have on India, on the region and on world peace and order in days, months and years ahead.

Indian economy is already in the eye of a huge storm. The previous government has left behind empty coffers with large unpaid bills needing to be settled. India is the world’s fourth largest consumer of oil.

Any major political or military strife in the region makes India and the world vulnerable in matters of energy security. The rupee has weakened vis-a-vis the dollar. Every dollar increase in crude prices will blow a $ 1 billion hole in India’s pocket and slow down any attempt to revive the economy. Add to it a deficient monsoon and still unbridled inflation. Growing conflict in Middle East threatens to put brakes on the post-election rally in Indian markets, as investors weigh the potential impact of higher energy prices on economies across Asia.

The divide between Shias and Sunnis, two major branches of Islam, has lasted for centuries. The rift has divided the Muslims politically, across the Middle East and beyond for 1,350 years. Large majority of the world’s Muslims are Sunni. Shiites are concentrated in Iran, southern Iraq and southern Lebanon, with significant communities in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, Yemen and Syria. Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have sizable Shia Muslim population.
There already has been much blood letting between the two in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Shiite community has resolved to send volunteers to fight against the caliphate in Iraq. This is therefore, a potential flash point in India and within the state of Jammu & Kashmir and bodes ill for peace and progress in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and over all other states even in South India.

Shia–Sunni tensions are already on the rise in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most terrorist organisations involved in terror attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India bank on Sunni support. Collapse of existing nation-states in the Middle East will weaken international borders between Iran and Iraq and between Turkey and its southern neighbours. Terrorists will have a free run. Evacuation of Allied forces from Afghanistan can result in grossly escalating terrorist activity in South Asia and beyond.

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