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Islamic State: The Product of Geopolitical and Ideological Conflicts

Islamic State ISIS

Omar Mateen, the killer at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, had called 911 to proclaim allegiance to the Islamic State, before he gunned down 49 innocent people. Like Mateen, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the shooters at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, according to FBI Director James B. Comey, were “homegrown violent extremists” inspired by foreign terrorist groups. When it comes to mass shootings, the United States is tragically exceptional: There are more public mass shootings in the United States than in any other country in the world. The horrific massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012, another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that August, another at a manufacturer in Minneapolis that September—and then the unthinkable nightmare at a Connecticut elementary school that December—were some of the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three-plus decades. However, the carnages in Orlando and San Barnando are totally different as the perpetrators involved are Muslims and apparently motivated by the notorious ISIS ideology, and they were not mentally retarded. If Mateen, Farook, and Tashfeen Malik had been driven by a deep-seated hatred against the White Christians, how would we justify the terror attacks in Oslo and Utøya on July 22, 2011 that claimed 77 innocent lives? Or, Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995 carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols that took the lives of 168 people? Yes, both those killed and the killers were White and Christian. What about the lynching of the 4000 Blacks? The extermination of the 6 million Jews? The 2 million South Sudanese Christians slaughtered by the Sudanese Muslim government? And hundreds of thousands of Australian Aborigines and Native Americans killed by White Europeans? Human history is, thus, mostly about genocide!

Yes, genocide and mass killing of innocent and powerless people have been an inseparable part of recorded human history: the case of the Islamic State is not something unique. Yet, the world is taken aback by the gruesome videos on beheadings ISIS posted online. ISIS is worse than KKK as it does not spare people of its own race: KKK lynched only African Americans; whites have never been touched by the KKK. Islamic State’s war is not against any particular race: it is against anyone who does not follow its ideology. Who are the victims of ISIS fatalities? Of course, Muslims! Muslims Are the VICTIMS of “Between 82 and 97% of Terrorism-Related Fatalities”: US Government! Isn’t it absurd that a terrorist group which claims to be Islamic kills mostly the followers of Islam? No, it’s not absurd! Some followers of Islam are more Islamic than the others!

Though violence and genocide by most terrorist groups are primarily political, these are justified or at times vilified theologically. Violence in the Middle East is fundamentally political; the media paint it with a broad religious brush though! The political relation between Syria and Saudi Arabia has always been turbulent: Syria used to pride itself as a secular republic aligned with Russia and Iran for mutual geopolitical interests. On the other hand, despite having nothing democratic in its government, Saudi Arabia is theocratic monarchy that proclaims to be the sole guardian of Islam, but maintains strong bilateral ties with the US and Western Europe. It’s a known fact that “the US, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the Gulf monarchies have all in the recent past supported al Qaeda and/or the Islamic State (ISIS) with arms, money, and/or manpower.” In Syria, the Saudi monarchy has backed al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. As Barack Obama states, “ISIS is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”

Why do the UAE and Saudi Arabia want President Bashar Assad to step down? Do these regional powers use Islamic Sate to fight against the Assad regime? Definitely, yes! This is something that the mainstream media almost never touch on. The proposed Qatar natural-gas pipelines is the ultimate apple of discord that has brought Assad and Putin against Gulf states and Saudi Arabia: Russian monopoly over the European energy sector is under direct threat by this pipeline. The pipeline can never reach Europe if Assad does not let it to, and hence he is so dear to Putin.

However, Saudi Arabia’s ties with the Islamic State are primarily ideological in the sense that both practice Wahhabism. In fact, Saudi Arabia emerged as a nation state after an alliance between the Saud family and the 18th century cleric Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab. Wahhab, as a Salafist Islamofascist, endorsed the use of military force branding it as jihad against anyone who they considered infidels. Many Muslims belonging to denominations like Shia and the desert nomads were not considered Muslims and persecuted. Patrick Cockburn explains the situation through a historical analogy: “Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.” In fact, speculating threats from the Shias in the region, Saudi Arabia initially backed the Islamic State to deal with the Shias. Unfortunately the plan backfired as the Islamic State declared the Arabs monarchs as apostates, and criticized the Saudi Wahhabism for corrupting the faith in order to help the royal family preserve its power. It is assumed that many private donors dissatisfied with the Saudi Royal family have played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq.

Islamic State is now one of the world’s most feared terrorist organizations equipped with modern weaponry left by the US Army in Iraq and Russian Army in Syria. Members of the group are recruited digitally from across the world, and they join ISIS with the belief that they are going to be the harbingers of the coming apocalypse predicted by the prophet. In the Quran, in Chapter no. 5, verse no. 32, Allah (SWT) states, “If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” Anyone with a little brain understands what Islam the Islamic State serves by killing innocent people.

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About the author

Sayeed Noman

Sayeed Noman is a Fulbright scholar and an adjunct professor at Temple University. His PhD dissertation focuses on Afrocentricity, postcolonialism, and postmodernism. His interest ranges from political to economic and cultural issues.

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