November 9, 2014
There is a lot of terrorist crossbreeding going on right now across the Muslim world. Recently, Jihadist groups operating in the Sinai openly declared that they will officially join ISIS. Yesterday, the Pakistani government published a report saying that thousands of fighters in its tribal areas are deflecting from the Taliban and throwing their support behind ISIS. And a city in Libya said it has joined the so-called Islamic State.
ISIS, known for its brutality, massacres, and religious bigotry, has ideological appeal in many conservative areas in Arab and Muslim societies. So the belief that U.S. and coalition airstrikes alone will uproot this terrorist group and that will be the end of it is short-sighted and naive. This is not just another terrorist group, but an idea that has taken hold, and the number of recruits will only grow, especially if the U.S. steps up its involvement.
And this new situation is very confusing. It's like a zoo where the trainers have been locked up inside the cages and the animals are running around outside, so it appears on the surface that there is no one in charge. But, of course, that's not really true. Turkey is sponsoring ISIS, helping it in Syria to fight Assad and the Kurds, and Pakistan is sponsoring the Taliban in Afghanistan to weaken it, a policy they have practiced for decades.
So there are a lot of governments who push their states' aggressive and unpopular policies by using terrorist groups. The CIA and Mossad are the masters at this.
The successes and setbacks of all the various Jihadist terrorist groups are not as interesting as the countries that secretly sponsor them and the cultural resilience of the countries they're targeting. There are a lot of unresolved geopolitical questions. Will Turkey stop its support for ISIS and back the Kurds in Syria? Will Pakistan stop its support for the Taliban and cooperate with Afghanistan on an equal basis after NATO troops leave the country?
In Egypt, the Egyptian society and state are dead set against having a radical Muslim Brotherhood regime in power calling the shots. The IS-linked terror groups in the Sinai and across Egypt will continue to do damage to Egyptian security and tourism, but the Egyptian people will never allow them to possess their nation, like it is the case in Libya.
The same thing is true in Afghanistan, where the majority of the people are pluralistic in nature and will not support the Taliban under any circumstances.
The people of Mosul and other Sunni areas in Iraq welcomed ISIS thugs mainly because they were angry at the government in Baghdad, not because they wanted a fanatical religious regime to rule over them. So their support for ISIS was more about them giving the middle finger to the government rather than high-fiving ISIS terrorists.
Deep down, they are religious moderates and don't want ISIS around permanently. In fact, many residents of these areas have already regretted their original decision to celebrate ISIS's surprising triumph over the useless Iraqi army in the summer.
The same could be said about a lot of cities and towns in Syria, whose residents believed the FSA and ISIS to be their liberators only to find out very quickly that they were never interested in securing their freedom. They saw the crossbreeding that was taking place between the FSA and Jihadist terrorists in their own backyards, and chose to either support the government or remain neutral, which is why Assad hasn't fallen.
The people of Syria, like the people of Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, are stuck between corrupt, incompetent, and failing states on one side and insane terrorist groups on the other side who are intent on killing their way to victory, so they don't have much of a choice.
Their leaders have failed them, powerful foreign countries like America and Israel never tire of plotting against them, and their so-called "Mujahideen" saviours are in reality their destroyers.