Synopsis

The al Qaeda-centric threat landscape has been eclipsed by an Islamic State (IS) insurgency. Today, an al Qaeda-IS hybrid influences and shapes the global threat landscape of political violence. IS will expand its international footprint in 2015.

Commentary

 

THE GALAXY of threat groups inspired and instigated by al Qaeda present a growing challenge to global harmony. Despite the presence of the world’s finest standing armies in Afghanistan and Iraq, the insurgent, terrorist and extremist groups in the two most violent conflict zones survived. The unwillingness of Western and their Middle Eastern partners to deploy ground troops in Iraq, the pressure to pull out from Afghanistan, and the reluctance of more countries to join the fight perpetuate conflict. In a trajectory of growth, the ruthlessness and resilience of the violent actors threaten international security.

 

The international neglect of Iraq led to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an episode likely to repeat itself in Afghanistan in 2015-6. Although the international coalition formed in September 2004 in Iraq and Syria offer hope, a greater commitment of its constituents to fight on the ground is needed. Unless there is greater will on the part of the community of nations to fight violent actors and commitment of capabilities to counter their vicious ideologies, the global threat of violence and extremism will spread in 2015. شرح 1xbet

 

The Context

Today, the most violent theatres of conflict are in the Middle East (Syria-Iraq, Yemen); Asia (Pakistan-Afghanistan), and Africa (Nigeria and Somalia). With less than 200 members, al Qaeda itself has become exceptionally weak but its associates and affiliates have become strong. The most violent threat groups are Islamic State (IS), Taliban, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Boko Haram and al Shabab. While these high profile groups will continue to pose a threat in 2015, several existing groups in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are likely to grow stronger.

 

They include al Nusra also known as al Qaeda in Syria, Turkistan Islamic Party in Western China, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. Although non-Muslim groups from the Philippines to India and Peru to Colombia present a security threat, the ethno-nationalist and left/right wing groups present a localised threat.

 

The epicentres of global terrorism today are in the Levant, where IS is the lead actor, and South Asia, where Taliban is. In Africa, a new epicentre is likely to develop unless stability is restored in Libya, Egypt, especially in the Sinai, northern Mali/Southern Algeria, Somalia and Nigeria. At present, the threat in Africa’s north is moving from Maghreb to the Sahel; in Africa’s east, al Shabab in Somalia is disintegrating; and in Africa’s west, Boko Haram in Nigeria is developing into a regional movement with cells in Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

 

Since June 2014, the spectacular military successes by the IS against the Iraqi and Syrian forces and continuing barbarism against Sunnis who resist them have shocked the world. The IS-generated fear psychosis paralysed Iraqi and Syrian forces from Mosul to Raqqa. While Iraqi and Syrian Sunni Muslims have suffered the most, the systematic killing, maiming and injury of Christians, Yazidis, Shia, Kurds and other faiths and communities by IS continues. The IS engages in the destruction of Islamic shrines and monuments, enslavement of women, beheading of regime elements and recruitment of children.

 

IS is creating an environment of fear, suspicion and prejudice between communities that historically coexisted. IS seeks to justify its actions through propaganda projecting itself as followers of Islam and enforcers of Sharia. IS activities find resonance among the radicalised, a narrow segment of Muslim communities vulnerable to recruitment.