Posted by: 24-12-2018, 08:22
Al-Qaida can take the place of the IG
The United States has begun to withdraw troops from Syria. Donald Trump explained this by the final victory of the Americans over the Islamic State. Moscow supported the Washington decision, hoping to speed up a political settlement in Syria. Trump's advisers explained: the withdrawal of troops does not mean an end to the fight against terrorists. After the defeat of the IG, the role of the main terrorist organization may return to Al-Qaeda. Will IG rebrand?
Five years ago, when unknown extremists seized part of the territories in Syria and Iraq, nobody gave it any special significance. In the Middle East, the Arab Spring was in full swing. The danger was realized when the radicals began to occupy new territories, terrorizing the civilian population, and the number of their supporters grew rapidly. They called themselves members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who had previously been a member of al-Qaeda, was proclaimed the spiritual leader and head of the future caliphate. But this is not the only thing that connected ISIS with the most powerful terrorist organization at that time.
Al-Qaida viewed the new structure as its daughter in Iraq. The terrorists expected to join the ranks of militants who fought against the United States on the side of Saddam Hussein. And they succeeded. Soon, however, the Iraqi Islamists abandoned patronage, declaring their own ambitions. They set their sights on creating a world caliphate and called themselves the «Islamic State».
In Syria, the situation developed according to a similar scenario. Al-Qaeda united the Syrian jihadists into a militant group called Djabhat al-Nusrah. The terrorists swore allegiance to Aiman al-Zawahiri, who led Al Qaeda after the destruction of Osama bin Laden. Nusrovtsy continued to contact with the parent structure, but rather in order to dissociate themselves from the Iraqi Islamists. The terrorist organization declared its goal the formation of an Islamic caliphate in Syria and two years ago even changed its name to «Dzhebhat Fath ash-Sham” , which translates as „The front of the conquest of Syria”.
While the IS and Dzhebhat en-Nusra managed to keep Iraqi and Syrian territories under control and wage war against the forces of the international coalition, Al-Qaida went into the shadows. But as the control over the occupied territories returned to the government forces of the two countries, and the proceeds from the illegal sale of oil declined, the terrorists remembered their origin.
„Ideological disagreements with Al-Qaeda are minor. We remain loyal to Zawahiri and count on his help in defeating the regime of Bashar al-Assad”, said Nusrov’s ringleader Abu Mohammed al-Dzhuliani.
Al-Qaeda also proved to be undefeated. Recently, the organization called on former „daughters“ to continue jihad against infidels and promised to help with money. For a short period of oblivion, the Alkayid people have accumulated considerable financial resources. Now the monthly income of terrorists reaches 40 million dollars, which is 20 times greater than the resources of the IG.
Caliphate within walking distance
The militants who fought in the ranks of the IG under the guise of civilians began to return to their home countries. The number of nusrovtsy reaches 20 thousand people. About 40 thousand more call themselves moderate Islamists, which does not exclude their readiness to join the terrorists at any moment. Moreover, the boundary between moderate and radicals is conditional.
Omar Nessar, director of the Center for the Study of Modern Afghanistan, has been researching Al Qaeda, IG and other extremist organizations for many years. In conversation, he suggested that both groups coordinate their actions. At the same time, the expert drew attention to the fact that rebranding is possible not only at the expense of our own forces, but also by attracting other, smaller underground associations.
"The border between Al-Qaeda and the IG is very thin. If one group fails, then the militants posing as its followers begin to look for another support. Moreover, large terrorist organizations often take responsibility for the terrorist attacks that they did not commit.Their performers may be scattered underground groups that are trying to draw attention to themselves. They shoot the attack on video, send it via the Internet to the leaders of the Islamists. Those join in to support the myth of their unsinkability", says Nessar.
Political analyst Andrei Serenko explains that now, when the IG is losing its position in Syria and Iraq, its followers are moving to other regions, mixing with civilians and starting to wage a partisan war.
«Both structures are united by jihadist ideology. But al-Qaeda asserts that special conditions are necessary for the caliphate, and most importantly, the hijra, the relocation of Muslims to a certain territory, in order to preserve the purity of the religion. If there is no hijra, they are calling to create it at home. Hence, lone suicide bombers who commit terrorist acts using the available means. I call this tactic of the radicals «jihad of walking accessibilit" ,says Serenko.
After IS defeats in Syria and Iraq, militants move to African countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Recently, the black flag of the IG hung out in Costa Rica. This confirms that the project of the radial Islamists is not tied to a specific territory.
At the same time, experts believe that not everywhere IG fighters will simply join Al-Qaeda *: «For example, in Afghanistan, the local Islamist Taliban * movement, which has always maintained contacts with al-Qaeda, is now seeking to improve its image and enter into negotiations with the Afghan government. Ties with terrorists from the IG will undermine the Taliban’s attempts to become moderate Islamists in the eyes of society. As soon as the Al-Qaeda’s al-Baghdadi’s oath, they immediately become the Taliban’s enemies”.
Youth subculture of terror
However, even if al-Qaeda strengthens its position again, the IG will not go anywhere. The ideologists of the world caliphate no matter what their followers call themselves. The main thing is that they act according to regulations. «Today, the main replenishment of the IG is not militants howling in Syria and Iraq, but youths around the world sympathetic to the ideology of jihad. Most of IG supporters * are people under thirty years old. There are cases of recruitment of high school students," explains Nessar.
New supporters of radical Islamists are attracted through the Internet, social networks, instant messengers, especially popular among young people. They are convincing, referring to the «authorities“: Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other terrorists, who seem to be unrelated to the IS. But ideologues are sure to clarify: all radical Islamists are united by the "struggle against the infidels”.
"IG has turned into an attractive subculture. Young people see death, terror, superiority, domination over others, their "aesthetics", they follow this“ fashionable ”trend. Obviously, creative people created the ideology of radical Islamism. And the Internet is not the main tool recruitment. Printed products are still distributed in large quantities", says Serenko.
Among the followers of the terrorists are many educated people with high incomes. The stereotype is not always true that only ethnic Muslims adjoin radical Islam. In confirmation, Serenko cites a sensational story in Volgograd when a young man of Jewish descent went to fight for the Islamists in Syria:
"He was from an intelligent family, received a higher education, knew several foreign languages. He accepted Islam. He left for Syria, where he died. Christians, Shiites, Jews, atheists may become supporters of radical Islamists. Primary for them is not the name of the organization — IG or Al-Qaida, and the just social order promised by the terrorists".[i][/i]
Hybrid Terrorist Holding
Russia also beats the alarm about the rapprochement of terrorist organizations. «Their unification may lead to the creation of a so-called hybrid terrorist holding with a powerful resource base and serious destructive potential”, said Sergei Kogetev, head of the Foreign Intelligence Service’s antiterrorist center.To prevent this, Kozhetev called on countries to stop dividing terrorists into «bad“ and «good.“ «The bet on the Mujahideen in Afghanistan at one time led to the emergence of Al-Qaeda and the September 11 attacks in the United States, and unlawful interference in Iraq and Syria contributed to the creation of the IG and Dzhebhat an-Nusra“ , he expressed his opinion.
Concerning a possible merger of groups, UN Secretary-General Ant? nio Guterres is also concerned. «The willingness of some members of the IG and Al-Qaida networks to support each other’s operations remains a concern”, he said.
Interviewed experts also believe that it is time to stop replacing concepts and expect that you can agree with moderate Islamists. «When declaring war on terrorist organizations, countries sometimes hope to get some kind of preference or recognition. When this does not happen, the fight against underground radicals weakens. But preventing the threat of terrorist attacks is the main goal that any preferences will not outweigh” Afghanistan Lobster Nessar.
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