Opinion: Where did ISIS come from and where is it going? (pt. 2)
February 4, 2015
Part I of this article (published Dec. 23) gave an overview of the genesis of terrorism in the Middle East and the state of turmoil that exists there.
This part gives an assessment of whether ISIS is a credible threat or simply a flash in the pan.
To arrive at an intelligent understanding of this issue it would be helpful to review relevant recent sociopolitical and religious dynamics in the Middle East.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by a homegrown young patriot Abdul Aziz Al Saud. He united the warring tribes of Arabia, whose innate sense of independence goes back to the days of the Prophet Mohammad and beyond.
“America and the rest of the industrial states ... will not allow any terrorist organization to control the flow of oil from the Middle East.”
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Meanwhile, the other rulers in the Middle East were the creation of colonial powers or usurpers via military coups and the like who suppressed the freedom of the people.
To illustrate: The kings of Jordan and Iraq were installed by the British Empire. The Shah of Iran was a soldier of fortune and a pretender to the ancient dynasty of the Shahs of Persia.
The khedevi of Egypt was an Albanian appointed as viceroy by the Ottoman Empire. Then there is the cadre of dictators: Hafiz Al Assad, Bashir Al Assad, Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi, to mention a few.
It is in this environment that Baghdadi declared the creation of the 'Islamic State' in the parts of Syria and Iraq that he controls with the belief that the Arab and Islamic nations will rise to create an integrated nation of all the countries in the Middle East.
Such aspirations are actually quite plausible in the context of comparable events in recent history.
Garibaldi (1807-1882) was instrumental in uniting the various "city-states" to create the present Republic of Italy.
Bismarck (1815-1898) was the driving force behind the unification of 16 constituent states that led to the creation of the current Federal Republic of Germany.
The latest unification evolution of the United Kingdom took place less than 100 years ago.
However, Baghdadi's dream of an 'Islamic Empire' faces formidable challenges. To begin with, his barbaric campaign of beheading and mass murder in the name of Islam does not set well with the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
For contrary to various false claims that Islam was borne of a rule of terror, the Quran preaches peace, tolerance, equality and justice, and in-spite of the current fervor promulgated by the media, the polarization of Islam into a war between Shiites and Sunnis will not happen for most of Sunnis have secular governments and are not interested in religious wars.
Furthermore, the heads of state of the Arab countries will not surrender their power peacefully to ISIS. Jordan has the best trained military force among all the Arab countries and can by itself defeat any aggression by ISIS.
Then there is America and the rest of the industrial states who will not allow any terrorist organization to control the flow of oil from the Middle East.
Nevertheless it should be kept in mind that ISIS has achieved a critical mass. Its 15,000-strong force of zealots will not fade away and is capable right now of defeating the Iraqi army and sweeping away the helpless oil rich emirates in the Persian Gulf.
Should that happen ISIS would suddenly take possession of a large portion of the oil in the Middle East.
Having America re-enter the Middle East to thwart the aggression of ISIS would be a mistake, for that, along with Israel's insistence on attacking Iran would be a recipe for a third world war: a war of a different kind, consisting of global terrorism for a long time to come.
The murder last week of journalists in Paris for their anti-Islam publications is a precursor of this war as it is intended to arouse the religious zeal of the over five million Muslims in France and having them empathize with ISIS.
No doubt this gambit will be repeated again and again, eventually making Muslims and Arabs the pariahs of the world.
However, at the end of the day, Arabs and Muslims will reject this barbarism and will work closely with the Middle East governments and the rest of the world to eliminate ISIS.
Sid Bekowich is an Incline Village resident.