The Islamic State is now threatening to expand his influence and control outside its territories in Syria and Iraq. Shall we be afraid of imminent terrorist attacks in major cities in Europe and USA?
After watching the film Zero Dark Thirty, which describes the real story of the mission that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, I was really pushed to write this blog post. Probably the most dramatic part of the film is the introduction when the viewer is left with a black screen and he can only hear the voices of the people who were calling their parents, the police or the fire department from the World Trade Center while the two towers were about to collapse. It is a really touching scene that made myself wonder: “What if this happens again? What if the world witnesses another tragedy like 9/11?”. These are questions that each one of use should be asking to ourselves and this is why I am so interested in ISIS, the terrorist groups that collected the inheritance of Al-Qaeda.
The IS has been considered as even more extreme than its predecessor so we really shoud consider future attacks in our home towns like the ones we have been unfortunately witnessing in recent years. This point of view is supported by the EU senior officials who estimate that terrorist attacks are going to be inevitable because of the members of ISIS who are coming back to Europe from Syria and Iraq. In fact, these people, who have joined the IS military forces, are indoctrinated and taught to fight the Europeans and American infidels who are attempting to stop the great plan of the Caliphate to bring most traditionally Muslim-inhabited areas (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus, Southern Turkey, Palestine and Israel) under its political control. Therefore, when these fighters come back to their home countries, they will set up terrorist organization whose aim is to kill deliberately with no mercy. Gilles de Kerchove, the Belgian EU official who coordinates the union’s counter-terrorism policy, said:
“The flow of fighters has not dried up. It’s a significant number and it has not stopped. […] The Americans are very worried about Europeans entering freely under the visa waiver programme. They are looking into this very seriously”.
This thought has been also underlined by the German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere who believes that more rigorous screening of all passports and ID cards are needed at airports.
On the other hand, experts believe that ISIS is temporarily not interested in attacking the West because it is trying to consolidate its power and control in Syria and Iraq and expand towards new Muslim areas. It is true that everyday we see videos on the Internet in which the IS accuse US of bloody acts and of being the ones who have to be blamed for starting the war. Even with this, IS military forces would not be powerful enough to afford an incredible human and economic effort such as a war against the West coalition. ISIS members and leaders might be brain-washed, they could be guided by their crazy religious beliefs and have a sense of hatred against the infidels but they are not stupid. They will never attack directly until they are not ready to.
A belief that is shared by many experts is that ISIS will behave in the same way as the Taliban did in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the early 1990s. As said above, their aim is not to spread global jihad but to fight the “other” Muslims who belong to other branches of Islam, especially the Shias against whom the IS leaders are conducting a genocidal campaign. Therefore, if we really are expecting an attack, this will probably happen in the Middle East where the Islamic State is trying to expand in order to conquer new financial sources, mainly oil refineries, which must fuel the IS expansion. In addition to this, another objective of the Caliphate is to eliminate all the borders between Islamic States that had been established by France and United Kingdom at the beginning of the 20th century (borders between Iraq and Syria have been alrady cancelled). In fact, when these boundaries were set up, religious, tribal and ethnic divisions were not taken into account, that is why they would have lasted as long as autocratic leaders, controlled by European colonialists, were in power. If we really think that religious wars will solve this centennial issue, then we should stop thinking like westerners always do and start analyzing deeper and, more importantly, comprehend the divisions that always have existed among these people.
In this particular case, Vegezio, a roman writer, was wrong because he said: ” Si vis pacem, para bellum” (= if you want peace, prepare for war) because this is not a political problem that could be solved by winning a war or through diplomacy, this is a very coincise social problem that we (westerners) have already faced and overcome in the XVII century when Protestants and Catholics fought against each other; that was the premise for the formation of Modern States. Perhaps we have reached this moment in the Middle East, perhaps war is going to be inevitable but I am one of those who think that there is always another alternative; in the end, hope is the last to die. References
- Ahmed Rasid (July 2, 2014). ISIS: The New Taliban. Retrieved November 03, 2014 from http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/jul/02/iraqs-new-taliban/
- Tom Engelhardt (October 7, 2014). No, ISIS Is Not a Threat to the US. Retrieved November 05, 2014 from http://www.thenation.com/article/181880/no-isis-not-threat-us
- Ian Traynor (Semptember 25, 2014). Major terrorist attack is “inevitable” as ISIS fighter return, say EU officials http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/25/major-terrorist-attack-inevitable-isis-eu