The Islamic Caliphate State (now on: ICS) is an Islamic Salafī-Takfīrī organization that takes its ideology from Islam and acts exactly according to Muhammad and the Four Righteous Caliphs’ example (al-Khulafā’ al-Rāshidûn). It employs Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah at the same time acts to bring back the Islamic seventh century as the ideal socio-political system. It is characterized by an un-selective Jihad terrorist strategy of killing the infidels (Takfīr – Kuffār), including killing Muslims who do not follow the strict commandments of Islam. By this, ICS has a world Islamic mission to accomplish.
However, there is the problem of terminology. From June 29th 2014, there is no longer “ISIS” or “ISIL” or “DAESH,” but the “Islamic Caliphate State” or the “Islamic State” or “the Caliphate. Period. To continue calling this phenomenon with its ancient names means to misunderstanding the situation. It was Albert Einstein from whom we may take an analogy: “if I was given one hour to solve a problem, I would have spent 55 minutes to define and understand the problem and only five minutes to solve it.” Indeed, here is the issue: if we do not define it properly, how can we contend with it let alone solve it? Those who continue to define ICS according to its past names prove inability, misunderstanding, and even unwillingness to really fight it.
Why do we stick to the ancient names? Perhaps it is our stupidity, or ignorance, or maybe lack of information. However, as an organization, ICS is the fourth stage in the development of an Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. Historically, there was Jamā’at al-Tawhīd wal-Jihād, established by Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian citizen with a Palestinian identity. His declared aims were to fight the US, in order to remove its presence from the entire Middle East; to fight the Shi’ites, as the apocalyptic eternal enemies of Sunni Islam, and at the same time to withhold the Iranian march to hegemony in the Middle East.
Al-Zarqawi promised once he achieve these goals, he would establish an “Islamic Emirate” in the region with the aim to fight all the infidels in the Muslim lands (Dār al-Islām). In October 2005 al-Zarqawi was personally nominated by Osama Bin Laden as al-Qaeda’s Emir of Iraq, but in June 2006 he was killed by an American drone. Abu Ayub al-Masri (Abu Hamzah al-Muhājir), an Egyptian citizen, took his place and established the Dawlat al-Islam fil-Iraq (the Islamic State in Iraq=ISI). This was the second stage in the development of the Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. Its military leader was Abu ‘Umar al-Baghdadi. In April 2010, both al-Masri and al-Baghdadi were killed by the US, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the leadership of Dawlat al-Islam fil-Iraq, and began to take control of territories in Iraq.
In April 2013 al-Baghdadi decided to withdraw from al-Qaeda and to expand his territorial ambitions to Syria. He has changed his organization’s name from the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) to the Islamic State in Iraq and greater Syria (al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fil-Irāq wal-Shām=ISIS). From here comes the name Da’esh we use to describe the organization. This was the third stage in the development of the Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. However, due to his territorial and political successes, on June 29th 2014, al-Baghdadi has coroneted himself as “Khalīfah Ibrāhīm,” being a descendent of Prophet Muhammad, and at the same time Amīr al-Mu’minīn.
ICS in another stage, more lethal and vicious than al-Qaeda, but with the same line of Islamic Sunni Jihadi ideology that practices Salafīyah. It has radicalized the Islamic surroundings and brought to the core a new version of fanaticism and unhuman activity. What is perhaps more important concerning ICS is that the Free World is facing a new generation of Muslim terrorists: more educated and sophisticated; more intelligent and devoted to the Islamic cause and ideals; and more self-content about their ability to subdue the Free World.
This new kind of terrorists look in contempt at the September 11 Islamic generation, as an old ineffective and impotent. They exactly know all Western technological sophisticated means, and use them to destroy the West. Above all, now Islam has the Caliphate at the center and that embodies the future of the Islamic coming victory.
Though ICS constitutes a new and more violent stage than al-Qaeda, it represents a Jihadi evolution based on the same Islamic Sunni religious ideology with the same Islamic political infrastructure. ICS was born by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from al-Qaeda’s Abdallah Azzam, Bin Laden, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and radicalized. al-Qaeda was born from the ideological conceptions of Sayyid Qutb and Abu A’ala al-Mawdudi, and radicalized. Qutb and al-Mawdudi were the students of Hasan al-Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood ideology, and radicalized. Hence, ICS is the only last stage of this Islamic Jihadi continuous evolutionary doctrine.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the source of the Salafi Sunni ideology that motivates ICS. Each and every radicalized stage is based on Islamic Sharī’ah. In ideological terms there are traditional fundamentalism (Salafīyah Taqlīdīyah); Jihadi fundamentalism (Salafiyah Jihādīyah); and infidelity fundamentalism (Salafiyah Takfīrīyah). But all are based on the same roots of Islamic Sunni political ideology. By that, the message is gloomy: by no means ICS is the last stage in the evolution of the Islamic Jihadi terrorism. Whatever its cruelty is, there are no less radical groups, and in future there will be much more extreme and vicious groups with the aim to bring the Islamic tidings to the entire world.
ICS’s emergence and success are due to the collapse of the Middle East order and the disappearance of authoritarian regimes to the point of failed states. This is not and never has been an “Arab Spring,” but from the first day it was the “Tribal Anarchic Islamic Winter.” To the vacuum that was created by Obama Administration by toppling the Arab military regimes (US code: “step down”), the Islamic jihadi groups have entered with full power. On the other hand, the lake of leadership and vision of Western leaders and the continuing denial of the Islamic lethal reality have forcefully pushed the Islamic Jihadi groups to lead the Islamic revolution in the region. The chaotic situation in Libya, Syria, and Yemen is 100 percent the responsibility of Obama.
ICS has become the most important and influential non-state player in the entire international relations. It serves as a model of pure success, and proves again there is no more successful like success. Its political influence is much more lethal than its operational, its educational activity among the youth is stunning, and its social media operation is so sophisticated and effective for the establishment of the Caliphate.
The contemporary foreign policy of the Free World in the Middle East, the Islamic world and Islam in general has proven to be disastrous, because its policymakers and analysts are unable or unwilling to opt to articulate them through familiar Western paradigms. That is, instead of trying to understand Arab-Islamic political culture, they use the mirror image approach and act according to the mental blindness principle. Every time there is a terrorist Jihad attack, they respond in the same routine cowardice way, declaring: Islam is the religion of peace; Muslims that operate Jihad are extremists and not real Muslims; and a policy of concessions and appeasement will reduce Jihad and extremism among Muslims.
The best ‘advice’ was lastly given by the Attorney General of the US, Loretta Lynch. For her, “Most effective response to terror is compassion, unity, and love.” Now, this is really a new innovative strategy, so simple and apparently so effective. You see, if a Muslim terrorist rampages through one’s home or at public place, butchering and massacring while shouting “Allāhu akbar,” all one should do is to greet him with love and compassion and showing sympathy and empathy to him.
Why it is a brilliant strategy? Because there is no doubt the terrorist immediately will stop his murderous activity and becomes a peace loving person. Showing him love, which he was neglected of, he surly would answer with love. Most important, he would immediately abandon the so many verses of the Qur’an that preach for hatred and violence, to kill the infidels whenever and wherever they are, to slaughter and smite their neck, and to terrorize them. He will abandon all these and preach liove.
From September 11 2001 on, the Free World’s peoples and their public opinion are being systematically told about the fiction that Islamic most murderous groups such as al-Qaeda and ICS are not Islamic but in fact anti-Islamic, and there is no doubt about Islam being a religion of peace and compassion. During the presidency of Obama we are facing a huge monstrous disinformation campaign directed from the White House and reflected by the governmental branches that Islam and terrorism are incompatible, and to relate to Islam such atrocities contradicts human logic even the nature laws.
Therefore, if ICS and al-Qaeda cite Islamic Scriptures to justify their atrocities, they are “hijacking” and “perverting” Islam. Moreover, when an attack committed by Muslims is too obviously terrorism to deny, it is called “ISIS-inspired,” or “al-Qaeda-inspired,” yet these groups are temporal and localized problem: defeat them, and the terrorism problem vanishes. Kill Bin Laden and al-Qaeda vanishes; execute al-Baghdadi and ICS vanishes. These terrorist groups are bad and deserve to be eliminated, but they are not Muslims. The same wrong approach and ignorance applies to what is called “loners” or “wolf loners.” Therefore, all one really needs is to see the beauty of Islam and the ugliness of those who pretend to be Muslims.
Western leaders restrain and censor their governmental branches, and the media and decision-makers alike refuse to connect the dots and insist on treating Islam as it deserves. The fact is there is “al-Qaeda,” “Taliban,” “Boko Haram,” “Shabab,” “ICS,” and other hundreds of Islamic terrorist organizations, all of them are Muslim in origin and all of them are struggling to bring the Islamic tidings to the entire world. They use Muslim hymn and symbols and its vocabulary. They practice the Islamic traditions and commandments. They preach for the Islamic objectives to achieve, and they use the Islamic tactics. And still, Western denial continues.
One must be fed up with this. Each and every person who just uses common sense even basic logic knows the answer. ICS is Islamic. It is 100 percent Islamic. ICS stems from Islam, it represents Islam, and it proves the Islamic political ideology and embodies what Islam really is. It is crystal clear and obvious like day and night. To say that ICS does not represent Islam is like to say that Earth is flat. If ICS is not Islam, than the Sun surrounds Earth. This is the greatest denial ever in history. This is the scourge of our generation; the greatest big lie ever has fallen upon humanity and worst of all, it directly leads to national disasters in an apocalyptic scale.
There is more. Part of our leaders, the media and the academia denial has to do with definitions. There is the mistaken narrative whether ICS is Islamic or Islamist. This differentiation between “Islamic” being good and moderate and “Islamist” being bad and radical, is totally artificial and absolutely Western oriented without any connection or corroboration to Islam itself. It is another stepping stone of Western ignorant debate; a version of Western apologetic appeasing discourse to analyzing and defining Islam; and perhaps it is another example to prove how Western leaders are intimidated concerning the Islamic threats.
And still we continue to argue and debate this matter. Why? Are we so stupid about the Islamic phenomenon? No, we are not. We know exactly everything about Islam. Or perhaps are we so ignorant understanding Islam? No, we are not. We know what is written in the Qur’an and the Sharī’ah, and we have all the knowledge about Islamic notorious history. Or perhaps do the so many Islamic groups hide their fanatic barbaric Islamic origins and ideologies? No, they are not. They declare their means and aims loud and clear, using all the Islamic terms and ideology and exactly acting according to Islamic commandments to subdue the world.
So what’s going on here? How that is our leaders called a spade a spade concerning Nazism and Communism and labeled them as enemies but refuse to do the same concerning Islam? Soon the day will come when we all have to admit that Islam is the uppermost lethal enemy of humanity. We will recognize with admiration that Bernard Lewis in 1990 and Samuel Huntington in 1993 were right declaring the “clash of civilizations syndrome.” We also have to admit that from that time on there is a long line of academic members and others who proved this reality and preached to cut out the vicious circle of silencing by Western politicians. Unfortunately, time runs and the price humanity will pay for this negligence perhaps conspiracy of silence will be unbearable, probably the modern embodiment of the Pyrrhic victory.
Why our leaders stubbornly refuse to utter the word “Islam” when it comes to terrorism and violence? There are perhaps many reasons, none of them is because Islam and terrorism are not deeply connected and interrelated. It is also not ignorance and not stupidity they perform. The fact is our leaders appease and pay protection money. The reason for that behavior is fear. Deep atavist fear of the ruffian murderer, the primitive vandal, the savage thug. They are intimidated as of how to deal with 1.6 billion Muslims if they declare the problem is the Islamic religion and its political ideology.
Our leaders are under deep mental and physical violence and fear of terrorism, so they have made the decision not to insult and not to hurt Muslims’ sensibilities. They believe that letting the Muslims to practice their religion and culture it will ease their aggressiveness. They are really in disarray concerning Muslims and Islam and they want to come back to normality, to their common sense and sanity. They wish wholeheartedly to run away from the madness they don’t understand – by closing their eyes and by paralysis of their actions.
This situation is observed by the euphemisms “radical Islam,” “fundamental Islam” and the like. Many complain that President Obama systematically forbids his governmental branches to put together the words “Islamic” and “terrorism,” even not to use the phrase “radical Islam.” Later on he excelled by forbidding his Administration to use the words “Sharī’ah” and “Jihad” as related to Islam. Indeed, this is a shame.
If there were any doubts whether leaders are abdicating their responsibility to stand up for the Free World’s existence, the Orlando Massacre was the last example. President Obama and Hillary Clinton deflected attention from the obvious Islamic terrorism to debate about the gun control issue. Obama and other delusional leaders have rushed to defend Islam and to assure us Islam is one of the world’s great peaceful religions: “ISIL is not Islamic… and the terrorists trying to pervert a noble religion.”
At the beginning, Obama mocked at ICS nicknamed it as a “JV team,” and at the same continue his slogans of peaceful compassionate Islam. At the UN Obama praised Islam: “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” Part of his continuing detached delusional declarations are: “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.” “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.” “We know Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.” “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism, it is an important part of promoting peace.” And perhaps the most important: “I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.”
The Orlando massacre was an act of a pure Islamic terrorism representing a doctrine of hatred towards the infidels and what it stands for. Omar Mateen has given his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Arabic, while declaring “In the name of Allah the Merciful, the beneficent” (Bismillāh), and adding “may Allah protect him [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] on behalf of the Islamic State.” The nonsense response of the US Administration was that the massacre was “more to hate and not just terrorism,” with the unfortunate slogan: “one cannot fight homophobia with Islamphobia.”
However, those who complain about Obama Administration’s refusal to call it “radical Islam” are no less mistaken. There is no “radical Islam” and as much as there is no “moderate Islam.” There is only “Islam.” Period. Just remember the declaration of Recep Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister: “the term ‘Moderate Islam’ is ugly and offensive. There is no moderate Islam. Islam is Islam.” There are radical Muslims as against moderate Muslims, but this has nothing to do with the doctrine of Islam and its political ideology. “Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s al-Qaeda and Baghdadi’s ICS are not “radical Muslims,” but loyal (Mukhlis) Muslim believers. They strictly follow the Islamic Sharī’ah. They act according to Islamic commandments. It is as such simple and clear as it is the truth when it comes to Islam. It is just the use of language that makes the difference: what for Western pronouncing is “radical,” for Islam it is “moderate” and “faithful,” and vice versa. Only the perspective approach and the language matters.
After the Tunisia massacre, on June 26, 2015, in which many British tourists were murdered. Immediately there came the Pavlovian reaction of PM David Cameron, that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the massacre was performed by “extremists.” Interesting. However, he even broke the record, since he overtook President Obama in his fast reaction. How this malaise is so pervasive one can deduct from the situation in the British schools that have been infiltrated by Muslims.
On March 23, 2015, Home Secretary, Theresa May said that “Islam is entirely compatible with British values and our national way of life, while Islamist extremism is not.” This is not a joke. From 2011 the British government has claimed that extremism is a “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” Now, all that one can do is to compare these with Islam.
This is also the case with the French and Belgian reaction after the Islamic massacres there. The Free World denial of Islamic situation continues even strongly when it comes to the horrific acts of the ICS. When asked about the mutual relationships and the religious background of ICS and Islam, the answer given by Western politicians is denial and refutation. However, there is an outlet: it is suggested to consult with the Qur’an and learn the Sharī’ah. If not, something is really deeply odd, let alone confusing and embarrassing relating to this issue when it comes to treating Islam.
But there is more. The Free World’s leaders are afraid because there is also the “Intimidation-Money Syndrome.” They are afraid of the brutal ruffian, but much more by the probability that the oil-states money flaw, mainly by Saudi-Arabia and Qatar, will be cut off and prevented. In times of money shortage, the industry, the stock markets, the media, and the universities are badly in need of this money. The result: our leaders have found out the “solution” by denying the connection between Islam and terrorism and violence, by appeasing and by apologizing. Yet, there is more. One of the outlets is blaming the Jews. This is exactly what is going on in Europe today against Israel. Whatever the situation is, Israel is the answer to all the problems not Islam.
That is exactly why the reasons to the victory of Islam and the collapse of Western civilization do not come from the ethnocentric Islamic political ideology, but from the Free World’s leaders, the media, the academia, and the cultural elite submissive appeasement. Let me put it straight: Islam and Muslims would not even raised their heads in so-high burst of hatred and animosity and even would not try to work so incessantly with Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah to conquer the world, without Western weaknesses and submissiveness; without the vacuum the West has willingly created.
However, just as in the 1930’s the European leaders appeased and gave up and gave in to Hitler’s aggression, yet not paradoxically, it was the aggressor who opened the war. Exactly the same occurs today. Western civilization appeases and pays protection money, and still Islam has declared a religious war against it. This is the deep unfortunate reality that our leaders do not learn even from their own lessons, and do not act in proactive strategy to defend our civilization.
If the Free World’s leadership will not wake up and sober up, the destruction of Western civilization and the ushering in of the Islamic New World Order is sure. We have a clear historical proofs: in 732 Charles, “The Hammer” Martel defeated the Muslim invaders advancing toward Paris, at the Battle of Tours. In 1683, the Polish King Sobieski beat back the invading Muslim army at the Battle of Vienna. Christianity was twice saved in Europe solely because Europe fought back by the sword. If Europe had not possessed the will to resist, it would be Islamic, and Christianity would be exterminated. But above all, Europe would be the reflection of the Middle East: poor and miserable socially; retarded and undeveloped technologically, and savage and not advanced politically.
The history of the Middle East proves this reality crystal clear. Wherever Islam has had complete sway, Christianity ultimately disappeared and wretchedness emerged. Indeed, the civilization of Europe, America and Australia exists today only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization. The question at stake is clear: whether the Judeo-Christian culture persists or primitiveness exists. The Free World has the ability to win over but has lost the will, the spirit to fight evil.
Our leaders have all the reasons not only to wake up and sober up, but to fight for their societies’ existence. The statistics is clear: over 95 percent of world terrorism and 70 percent of world violence are Islamic. All the intelligence agencies’ reports clearly indicate that at least 20 percent of the Muslims and 40 percent of the youngsters till 26 have clear Jihadi inclinations. A research published by the Czech Republic’s intelligence in May 2016 indicates that 44 percent of the Muslims in Europe match the European definition of fundamentalism.
The U.S. State Department’s annual, counts 11,774 terrorist attacks in 92 countries around the world. All of them were Islamic. More than 55 percent of all attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria), and 74 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria). The number of terrorist kidnappings and hostage-takings increased in 2015 to more than 12,100. Moreover, in the last 70 years, almost 14 million Muslims were butchered by other Muslims.
Nevertheless, Western leaders are determined never to connect the dots. If one observes the behavior, reactions, and the activity of ICS, he needs nothing more as to clearly and absolutely be sure it is Islamic and it acts exactly according to the Islamic commandments and teachings. Indeed, when tolerance becomes a one way street, it leads to cultural suicide, and it ushers in religious genocide. It was Albert Einstein to declare: The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. That is why this war that the Western world must employ is the pure just war. Never in history there has been more just than this war against the enemy of civilization. Sam Harris has put it succinctly:
We are now mired in a religious war in Iraq, and elsewhere… The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific doctrines about martyrdom and jihad that directly inspire Muslim terrorism… It is time we admitted that we are not at war with “terrorism.” We are at war with Islam. This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims, but we are absolutely at war with the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran. The only reason Muslim fundamentalism is a threat to us is because the fundamentals of Islam are a threat to us. Every American should read the Koran and discover the relentlessness with which non-Muslims are vilified in its pages. The idea that Islam is a “peaceful religion hijacked by extremists” is a dangerous fantasy… deluding ourselves with euphemisms is not the answer. Our press should report on the terrifying state of discourse in the Arab press, exposing the degree to which it is a tissue of lies, conspiracy theories and exhortations to recapture the glories of the 7th century. All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the Earth.
Role of Pak-Military in Combating Terrorism: Post-2017 Analysis
Over the past 20 years, Pakistan has continued to be a target of terrorism. It has endured a great deal of hardship as a frontline nation in the fight against terrorism being led by the United States. In the past 20 years, the bloodstained war against terrorism has claimed thousands of lives, including both civilians and security force members. Pakistan adopted a comprehensive plan and carried various operations to eradicate terrorism from its territory. The importance of Pakistan’s military cannot be overstated, especially given how successful that country has been in the last five years in combating terrorism.
In reaction to an increase in “terrorist attacks,” The Pakistani government declared a nationwide military operation with the codename Radd-Ul-Fasaad on February 22, 2017. This operation was not restricted to one area, but had been carried out across whole Pakistan and succeeded in driving out terrorist elements from Lahore, Sehwan Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the former FATA. The operation included the involvement of Pakistan’s air force, Pakistan’s navy, Pakistan’s police and other civil armed forces however, the Rangers performed special tasks ‘to operate in Lahore and different parts in the province of Punjab.
Similar to this, the Pakistani army began Operation Khyber-IV in July 2017 to purge the Rajgal Valley of militants in the Khyber tribal district. The primary objective of Khyber-IV was to eliminate the threat of IS in the tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. the declared the Operation was concluded On August 21, 2017.
According to sources (PIPS), systematically compile data on militant and anti-state violence in Pakistan claim that 2018 saw an improvement in the overall security situation compared to previous years. The total number of raids and operations carried out against militants in 2018 were 31 as compared to 2017 i.e. 75. In addition to these operational assaults, security forces and militants engaged in 22 armed confrontations in 2018. This represents a 68% drop from 2017 levels.
In accordance with data from the Global Terrorism Index, terrorist attacks have decreased in Pakistan since 2018. The total number of terrorist incidents decreased from 369 in 2018 to 279 in 2019. While the number of terrorist deaths in Pakistan I.e.300, reached its lowest annual total since 2006.
The nature of the violence in 2018 was diverse the figure below presents a breakdown of the nature of violent incidents and the number of casualties’ recorded in 2018:
Source: PIPS, Pakistan Security Report 2018, 6 January 2019, p. 20
In comparison to 2018, the security situation was even better in the first half of 2019. Numerous counterterrorism operations captured several top commanders from various militant organisations, including the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). According to the data, the security forces engaged in 23 operations against militants in the first seven months of 2019. In addition to these operational assaults, security forces and militants engaged in 15 armed encounters.
There were 276 total violent incidents in the first seven months of 2019. As a result, 403 people died and 702 were hurt. A breakdown of the types of violent incidents and the number of fatalities reported in 2019 can be seen in the figure above.
In 2019, the Pakistani government also contributed positively to the US-Taliban negotiations. Moreover, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) collaborated to develop Pakistan’s Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT) with a specific focus on Sindh in order to equip the criminal justice systems with the tools necessary to prevent and combat terrorism in a proactive manner. The goal of PACT Sindh is to improve the capabilities and coordination processes of national and local counterterrorism and criminal justice institutions. PACT Sindh’s primary goal is to enhance the criminal justice system’s investigation, prosecution, and adjudication procedures. By working with other departments, it will increase the ability of the police, prosecutors, and judiciary. These counter terrorism efforts of the security forces and especially Pakistan Army are significant indeed, considering the ratio that Pakistan faced in the last two decades.
Terrorism intensifying across Africa, exploiting instability and conflict
The growth of terrorism is a major threat to international peace and security, currently felt most keenly in Africa, the deputy UN chief told the Security Council on Thursday. “Terrorists and violent extremists including Da’esh, Al-Qaida and their affiliates have exploited instability and conflict to increase their activities and intensify attacks across the continent”, Amina Mohammed said on behalf of Secretary-General António Guterres.
“Their senseless, terror-fuelled violence has killed and wounded thousands and many more continue to suffer from the broader impact of terrorism on their lives and livelihoods”.
With misogyny at the core of many terrorist groups’ ideology, women and girls in particular, are bearing the brunt of insecurity and inequality.
And over the last two years, some of the most violent affiliates of Da’esh have expanded, increasing their presence in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger as well as southward into the Gulf of Guinea.
“Terrorist and violent extremist groups aggravate instability and human suffering. And they can plunge a country emerging from war back into the depths of conflict”, reminded the senior UN official.
Meanwhile, terrorists, non-State armed groups and criminal networks often pursue different agendas and strategies, fuelled by smuggling, human trafficking and other methods of illicit financing – sometimes impersonating legitimate armed forces.
And as digital tools spread hate and disinformation, terrorists and other criminal groups are exploiting inter-communal tensions and food insecurity triggered by climate change.
Globalization of terrorism
In today’s hyper-connected world, Ms. Mohammed remined that the spread of terrorism in Africa is “not a concern for African Member States alone”.
“The challenge belongs to us all. Countering international terrorism requires effective multilateral responses”, she flagged.
From the climate emergency to armed conflict and poverty and inequality to lawless cyberspace, and the uneven recovery from COVID-19, she also pointed out that terrorism is converging with other threats.
For a holistic, comprehensive approach, the deputy UN chief cited the New Agenda for Peace – part of the Our Common Agenda report.
Amidst increasing polarization, she maintained that it proposes ways to address risks and revitalize our collective peace and security system.
Pushing back on terror
Outlining five suggestions to advance counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, Ms. Mohammed reminded that “prevention remains our best response”.
“We must address the instability and conflict that can lead to terrorism in the first place, as well as the conditions exploited by terrorists in pursuit of their agendas”.
Secondly, she called for community-based, gender-sensitive “whole-of-society” approaches.
Noting “complex links between terrorism, patriarchy and gender-based violence”, she said counter-terrorism policies needed to be “strengthened by the meaningful participation and leadership of women and girls”.
She underscored in her third point that “countering terrorism can never be an excuse for violating human rights or international law” as it would “only set us back”.
Fourth, she stressed to importance of regional organisations which can address challenges posed by terrorist and violent extremist groups in the local context.
Finally, Ms. Mohamed called for “sustained and predictable funding” to prevent and counter terrorism.
From economic deprivation to organized crime and governance challenges, “the magnitude of the problem calls for bold investment”, she told ambassadors.
In closing, the Deputy Secretary-General welcomed the planned October 2023 Summit on counterterrorism in Africa as an opportunity to consider ways to strengthen the UN’s efforts across the continent overall.
She expressed confidence that today’s debate would offer insights for the summit, and “help to build peaceful, stable communities and societies across the continent”.
Restoring authority: Ghanaian President
Chairing the meeting with his country assuming the presidency of the Council for November, Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, attested to the importance of restoring effective State authority and promoting inclusive governance across the continent. He also urged the Council to support AU-led counter-terror operations, including with predictable funding.
African Union (AU) Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, drew attention in his briefing, to the daily physical and psychological damage caused by terrorism and reminded that conventional responses and old models are no longer relevant to counter evolving threats on the ground.
And as terrorism extends to new parts of the continent, Benedikta von Seherr-Thoss, Managing Director for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response with the European Union’s diplomatic wing (European External Action Service) noted the need for security support while underscoring the role of sustainable development for nourishing peace.
Comfort Ero, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, also briefed the Council, and maintained that technical and military solutions would not end terrorist threats on their own, calling for a new counter-terror toolkit that includes more dialogue with armed groups and can promote local ceasefire arrangements.
Crime and terrorism thriving again in Afghanistan amid economic ruin
Two-thirds of Afghans are going hungry, with girls’ education subject to “random edicts” of the Taliban, while crime and terrorism are thriving once more buoyed by a large spike in opium production, warned the President of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
Csaba Kőrösi painted a near apocalyptic picture of ordinary life in the Taliban-ruled nation that has endured almost five decades of “relentless conflict”, urging the international community to make up the $2.3 billion shortfall in the UN humanitarian appeal for $4.4 billion.
In a powerful speech to ambassadors in New York, during a full session of the UN’s most representative body, he said that there was “a moral and also a practical imperative for the international community to support an inclusive and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.”
The resolution expressed deep concern over Afghanistan’s current trajectory and the volatility there since the Taliban takeover.
It urges Afghanistan to honour and fully respect and implement all treaties, covenants or conventions, bilateral or multilateral, which is has signed up to.
Drugs and terror
Beyond the disastrous humanitarian and human rights situation, he said the country was now “awash with heroin and opium.”
“Organized crime and terrorist organizations are thriving once again. Afghanistan is facing complex and interlinked challenges that the Taliban have shown they cannot – or would not – solve.”
Now is the time to come up with some concrete solutions that put the Afghan people first, he said, suggesting one concrete way the General Assembly could help right away:
“I encourage the country’s reengagement with the international science community. And to allow women who used to be respected members of the country’s science community, to resume their research and their studies.
Alone in denial
Afghanistan is now the only State in the world, denying girls the right to a full education, he added, noting that their prospects are totally uncertain, “amid seemingly random edicts from the Taliban.”
For even the most powerful women in the country, “dreams of becoming President have been replaced by the reality of child marriage. Arrests if women and girls leave their home without a male chaperone.
Protect all Afghans
“I reiterate my call for the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of all Afghans, especially women and girls.”
Mr. Kőrösi urged the Taliban to ensure the safety of all Afghans – regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or politics – protection for journalists and civil society members, and the unhindered delivery of aid.
Amid the economic meltdown, he pointed out the shocking fact that narcotics constitute the biggest sector in the country, with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, revealing a 32 per cent growth in illegal opium cultivation.
“We know where these drugs are sent. And we know who profits from these drugs. The threat from drug trafficking is linked with the threat of terrorism, regional and global security.”
He said Taliban leaders needed to engage in serious dialogue about counter-terrorism to reverse the flow of foreign extremists into the country – and prevent their own from becoming foreign terrorist fighters elsewhere.
“Afghanistan must never again become a breeding ground and safe haven for terrorists. I call on the Taliban, other Afghans and members of the international community to cooperate with the Special Representative (for UN Assistance Mission, UNAMA) as she implements the Mission’s mandate.
After debating the resolution, it was adopted by the General Assembly with 116 votes for, and 10 abstentions – Belarus, Burundi, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia and Zimbabwe.
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