Over the past 24 months, much more has been written about ISIL than, perhaps, everything else combined in the print/social media. But still there are many lingering questions about its creation, motive, methodology, funding, friends, foes, future etc.
Contradicting charges against them, depending upon who’s views are we reading, leave a vast majority of us completely confused and, at times, baffled.
Here are some of these charges that we get to hear/read, and the questions they automatically generate in our mind:
Charge #1: It has been created by the US agencies in Camp Bucca in Iraq between 2005 and 2010 when the group’s leader Al Baghdadi was detained there!
Question: Why then the US has been bombing its positions for almost 14 months, and the US Air Force has mounted close to 7000 attacks?
Charge #2: A large number of its senior leaders were released by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad from prisons to finish the pro-democracy groups in Syria!
Question: Like the US, why is then Assad’s forces barrel-bombing the areas controlled by this group – and killing over 250,000 Syrian civilians in the last 4 years?
Charge #3: Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been funding and arming them!
Question: Why is this group, then, bombing mosques inside Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and also the territories of their close ally, Egypt?
Charge #4: It is protected by Turkish state under the patronage of President Erdogan!
Question: Why is then the group bombing Turkish capital Ankara and other cities?
Charge #5: It simply wants to create mayhem and instability in the region!
Questions: Was this group a cause of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003? Or is it a product/outcome of “stability” created by that invasion?
Charge #6: It is meant to “weaken” Israel’s Arab neighbors so that Israel continues to get away with its crimes against humanity!
Question: Isn’t Israel continuously committing crimes against humanity since its creation, even when Iraq and Syria were supposedly “strong”?
Charge #7: It is just a passing phenomenon, because this group is nothing but a bunch of crazy youngsters!
Question: Then why is the group gaining territory (presently controlling an area equivalent to France/Jordan) and increasing manpower (from 20,00 fighters last year to over 60,000 at present according to some estimates) despite full-fledged attacks by the world’s only two superpowers USA + Russia?
Charge #8: It is actually a “truly Islamic army” that will eventually liberate Masjid Al Aqsa – Islam’s third holiest mosque illegally occupied by Israel since 1967!
Questions: Why is it then bitterly fighting Labanon’s Hezbollah which claims to have the same objective? And also Palestine’s Hamas which too shares this long-term goal?? Aren’t enemy’s enemies supposed to be friends – like how the US + Iran + Russia are in Syria???
Charge #9: Now that all the good guys in the world (Russia + Iran + Hezbollah + US + Bashar Al Asad) have joined hands, the days of such evil groups are numbered!
Questions: Really? But is this not what we have been hearing since the “war on terror” was launched by a coalition of very powerful 70+ countries, a decade-and-a-half back?
Charge #10: It is just “End of the World” related fit’na (misguided groups etc) that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) predicted!
Question: Did the Prophet only predict this fit’na, and not remedies to counter such fit’nas?
It would be great to have some credible answers to these questions from counter-terrorism, geo-strategy or international affairs specialists.
Fixing these pieces of puzzle will enlighten us more about “the biggest and most resourceful terrorist group in human history”; and also about the future of this most valuable piece of real estate in the world, called Middle East!
Dr. Mansoor Durrani