MIDDLE EASTPOLITICS

Islamic State an emerging threat

By Saima Afzal

ISIS is considered an off-shoot of Al-Qaida that emerged in 2004 but has been taken as challenging threat to the whole peace loving world in 2014.  It started from the northern part of Iraq; seized most of northern parts and made strong hold in Syria also through the border of Iraq. Previously, it was known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but now it has changed name as Islamic State (IS) and established its caliphate system in the whole Muslim world, Abu Bakr Al-Baghadadi the leader of IS has declared himself as a Caliph. Many Islamic militants and many European along with females have joined the IS.

The emergence of IS can be real threat to regional as well as international actors like Iran, Pakistan, China and United States of America. Islamic State is estimated to be a strong, well trained and well equipped organization which financially has almost 2bilion dollars fund.  It is considered well-built group than Al-Qaida. Pakistan suppose to remain concern with IS because it can be favored by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan because both groups are in contact with each other and want to spread their ideology. Pakistan has launched operation to root out the militant from her territory in North Waziristan on 15 June 2014 near the Afghan border. Although, Pakistan military is getting success by eliminating and destroying the sanctuaries of militants but these militants can get refugee by the IS and after the end of operation they can further destabilize the internal security of Pakistan.

The appearance of IS have dangerous and sever security implications for China, Pakistan and Afghanistan because these states are already facing extremism and uprising violence within the state. Ideologically, IS and Al-Qaida are same because both want implementation of similar version of Islamic Sharia. The Islamic State which is suggested by IS having no place in Islam, the militants of different countries who have same version of Sharia can get confidence and support from them. IS can become a global terrorist organization in future where rebels can regroup and join them for training.

In contemporary, USA has planned to drawdown her forces from Afghanistan till the end of 2014 and Taliban are stronger in term of bond and loyalty than IS. If Taliban came into power with the assistance of IS than it can be more challenging not only for USA but also for Pakistan as well for Afghanistan to control the insurgencies because both have same views of creating chaos and disorder in society to gain political objective. There is clear change in Pakistan’s counter terrorism policy that she has launched air strike not only against Pakistani Taliban but also against Afghani Taliban in Zarb-i-Azb operation. Therefore, Pakistan will not allow to any group to challenge the writ of state and imposition of their own version of Islam.

Apparently, IS seem to confine in Middle East but in upcoming period with the presence of European fighters can be great trouble for the western states and especially for USA.  The USA and western states along with region states can face the new wave of terrorism around the globe. It is imperative that all the regional and global states should bury the hatchet and collectively work for countering IS with iron hand. Pakistan can escape itself from the horrific impact of IS by scrutiny of all religious organizations whether they are operating clandestinely in the country because there is assumption that few organizations are operating with change name not only in underdeveloped part of the country but also in the developed areas. Last but not the least all political and religious parties should refrain from blame game and should not play with the emotions of people with false promises, so the people should not have to think about any alternative.

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Saima Afzal

Saima Afzal works as a Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute in Islamabad and can be reached at saimaafzalsvi@gmail.com

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