We should be worried, because ISIS is spreading. The movement began in Iraq in 2004 as Al Qaeda in Iraq. The same elements that were loyal to Osama Bin Laden are now loyal to the leader of ISIS. He has gained ascendancy over the current leadership of Al Qaeda. The atrocities being committed in the name of IS are growing by the day. The Islamic elements that are causing havoc in North African communities are also expressing allegiance to IS. In Australia it is Hizb-ut-Tahrir that has been expressing allegiance to IS.
Before we get too excited about the leadership of IS there is something to keep in mind about the man and his motivation… that something is Saddam Hussein… and in Libya it is Moamar Gadhafi. I will explain the Libyan connection soon. Why bring up Saddam Hussein? He was a Sunni Muslim and he gained powerful control over Iraq. This movement was born in the same city that had seen the birth of Saddam Hussein. Baghdadi has another motivation and that is he wants power over Iraq first. The IS leadership is also Sunni. Thus this war appears to be Sunni vs Shia… yet that is not the case.
IS has declared that anyone who does not follow their brand of Sunni is an unbeliever and therefore they can put that person to death. IS is therefore killing other Muslims who are Sunni. They are also killing Shia, Kurds, Yazidi, Christians and of course any Jews that cross their paths. The Chechyen branch of IS is also killing Russian soldiers that they are claiming as spies.
The withdrawal of Allied troops from Iraq prior to Iraq having a strong army led to a gap which al-Baghdadi used to garner support. However, Baghdadi and his band of thugs took other opportunities to try and spread their vile form of Islam. One theatre of war is Syria. No one had come to the aid of the “rebels” and they were left to fight the Assad supporters on their own. The lack of support gave Al Qaeda the opportunity that they were seeking. As a result Syria became a new front where Al Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front, and IS had gained a foothold.
At the same time IS has a presence in Libya, Algeria and Tunisia. The most scary aspect of this is the presence of IS in Libya. Let’s try and take a closer look at this group.
When Libya was in the midst of its civil war against Moammar Gadhafi, the rebels were made up of various disparate groups. Some of those militias who fought against Gadhafi have remained loyal to the current government. One such militia is in Zintan, the city that was recently bombarded when the IS affiliated group managed to get hold of an aircraft. The most notorious of the Libyan militias is that of Ansar al-Sharia, the group that has taken over Benghazi and Derna. This group is the one most likely to have committed atrocities during the Libyan civil war, since it has been recorded that there were atrocities on both sides. When the trouble began, Gadhafi had warned a civil rights lawyer about rebelling and Gadhafi went a lot futher by bringing in sharpshooters from Mali. It is true, Gadhafi ordered the sharpshooters to kill the people who were out on the streets. Some very good people, not involved in Islamism were killed by these sharpshooters. They even shot a girl child when she was in her bedroom. Also, it is true, that Gadhafi’s army complete with tanks was heading to Benghazi with the express purpose of killing the residents of that city. The tanks reached the edge of the city when the French swooped and the allied approach to this issue began. The war itself lasted a lot longer than some expected, and it ended when Gadhafi was killed.
Libya is a divided nation. Ther are three regions – Cyrencia is one of the regions. The terrain of Libya is uninviting with vast deserts and mountain ranges. Some of the bravest militia soldiers came from the mountainous region of Libya. All they want out of the new government is the right their own language.
Since the death of Gadhafi the moderates were hounded out of the newly formed government. The militias from Misrata were key to removing anyone who had served with Gadhafi, but I think that this was a grave error on their part because Libya remains very unstable. At the present time it has a legitimate elected government as well as the illegitimate government in Tripoli.
IS is now strong in Tripoli, Derna, Benghazi and Sirte. There is a general loyal to the elected government who has been trying to stop their activity. He has been aided by both Egypt and UAE. IS is a direct threat to Egypt because Libaya is on the border with Egypt. There have been border clashes and there has been some infiltration with IS members killing Egyptian security police in the border region.
There are now threats to Europe as IS promises to invade Italy and raise its flag over the Vatican. The Italians have been poking fun at this threat because of the huge amount of traffic on their freeways. They think that IS would have a lot of trouble getting to Rome in the first place. I hope that the Italians have their guns handy because if IS does invade by crossing from Libya then they are going to need to fight for their lives.
IS wants to re-establish the Caliphate. The followers believe in the Ummah. They have a set purpose and they will continue until they have achieved their goals. They are willing to kill the Sufi, Ahmadi and the Shia as well as Muslims who are moderate. It only takes an Imam who preaches for the young to be turned and be willing to follow IS. This is a problem in every nation.
IS has a very warped view of God, and the life after this life. Clearly they believe that if they are killed by the “infidel” then they are martyrs. The truth is it is the Yazidi, the Peshmerga and others , including the Chaldeans, and the 21 Copts who were killed because they are Christians.