Much has been written on the current Islamic/Jihadist menace but that does not mean that I cannot also reflect on it. How quickly the Arab Spring has been succeeded by an Arab Winter without ever going through Summer and Autumn!
In Egypt a 360 degree revolution has occurred which came to rest on Abdul Fatah al Sisi. So what was the point of overthrowing Hosni Mubarak? Even he only outlawed the Muslim Brothers and did not condemn them to death. Al Jazeera journalists who were reporting on events objectively have been jailed. Democracy never emerged. Destroying is easy but without rebuilding different edifices it is pointless.
The aftermath of the Libyan uprising created chaos and is destabilizing many parts of Africa which is now awash with arms and military equipment. Syria is being destroyed by civil war. Only in Tunisia where the turmoil started with a self-immolation is there a slight glimmer of hope. Tunisia’s Islamic Government has built alliances, forged consensus with other groups and drafted a constitution.
And now a new threat has appeared on the horizon and is marching steadily across Iraq. It calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL although also known as ISIS). It is partially an offshoot of Al Qaeda and its objective is to create a new Caliphate on the model of the original Islamic state of the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th Century. It consists
of disenfranchised and rebellious Sunnis who were marginalized by the Shia government of Nuri al Maliki. After Sadam Hussein’s fall, his Bath Party was banned from political participation and is now taking its revenge. According to Thomas Friedman, in the 21st Century, the Shia and Sunnis are still fighting over who is the rightful heir to Muhammad. This new movement was battle-tested in Syria and is now spilling over the entire Middle East. The Levant is the ancient name for the whole eastern Mediterranean world and includes Syria, Lebanon, Israel and part of Turkey.
ISIL/ISIS is a Western hating group and is dedicated to our destruction. We are facing a direct threat of epidemic proportions. This new virulent outbreak of Islam is like a virus which has become immune to simple antibiotics and needs to be countered by new methods.
What President Obama is doing with drones is killing a few mosquitoes at a time but leaving whole swarms intact.
In the short run we perhaps need to reexamine our opposition to Iran and Syria and forge temporary new alliances. Sometimes one is forced to sup with the devil. There are no good guys in this fight so which bad guys do we choose?
In the long run, what is needed is to uproot the teachings of the Madrassas to which ignorant and alienated youths are flocking. It is not for nothing that Boko Haram is calling itself “Western teaching is a Sin” . They know that it threatens them directly.
We must become missionaries again and provide people with other solutions to their misery.