Tackling the ISIS Threat
The ISIS fundamentalists who have captured wide swath of land in upper regions of Syria and Iraq and have declared themselves Islamic Caliphate of Iraq and Syria, represent everything that has gone wrong with Islam and Muslims. The speed with which this militant force rose in the badlands of the two Muslim states and established the so-called Caliphate, should in itself be a matter of shock and surprise, for no one could imagine an embattled region to throw up any ideologically coherent movement, let alone a militia.
Ever since its capture of the region, the ISIS has indulged in all conceivable crimes against the humanity ranging from ruthless execution of opponents to kidnappings, exclusion of women, siege of Yazdis (the Parsis who migrated from the city of Yazd in Iran to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq in early Islamic period), murder of journalists and persecution of Christians and Shias. The shade of Taliban ideology as well as methodology is unmistakably evident from the new force which burst forth on the Middle East scene with lightning speed not expected of a people pursuing a nomadic and pastoral life for centuries.
The savagery by the group has gone beyond all limits and calls for united action by the Islamic world, principally by Iran and Turkey, the only two powerful nations in the region. Iraq weakened internally due to Sunni-Shia conflict is in no position to take upon the ISIS which should be seen as a militia rather than a popularly backed group as its rise did not precede any social or political movement. It is gratifying to note that Noural Maliki has made exit from the Iraqi power scene and Haidar al-Abadi has gathered some modicum of support from the ragtag coalition thrown up by the election and also from neighbouring Iran which is a clear stakeholder in maintaining peace in Iraq.
The ISIS should be considered a military threat to peace in the region and nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and even Turkey should assess their own role—indirect through—in its emergence as reports suggest arms and funds meant for rebels in Syria have been instrumental in its rise. It has to be clearly seen that any effort to carve out territories by militias in the region on sectarian lines would only help Israel to strengthen itself as a regional power and endanger peace, stability and fledgling democracy in the region. But a more grave threat to the people and the fragile national unities in the region stems from promotion of Sunni-Shia conflict, the core doctrine around which ISIS revolves. It calls for governments in the region to desist from doing anything that radicalizes the people.