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The ISIL Enigma

By General Mirza Aslam Beg : –

The emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) is not new to the Muslim World, but for others it is an enigma. ISIL has grown out of the deep frustration, hate, disenchantment and injustices experienced by a group of people who now have risen in revolt, to correct the course, in their own puritan ways. Such a phenomenon first occurred in 37 AH, by the name of Khwarjis, who fought the bloody battle of Niharwan against Caliph Hazrat Ali (kaw). They revolted because the battles of Jamal and Siffin, which Hazrat Ali (kaw) fought against Hazrat Ayesha and Hazrat Muwaviah, had so disenchanted them in respect of these personalities, whom the followers of the Faith, so much revered and loved.

Similarly, the ‘shock and awe’ brutalities committed by US and their allies, on Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza, drew the ‘Hate Line.’ The Sunni-Shia divide in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine, was induced to create internal conflicts. Political Islam was rejected in favour of modernity, whereas the Muslims in general believe that:

“human existence should be God-centered human order, whereas the proponents of modernity prefer an order that favours individual autonomy and marginalized God. Not Got first but We first,”

By bringing about regime changes in Algeria and Egypt; imposing the rule of minority over the majority, such as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, where Sunni and Shia countries are now pitched against each other, are the conspiracies which have caused great frustration to the followers of the Faith. Even a country like Pakistan, where an exemplary Shia-Sunni harmony has existed for long, all kinds of machinations have been

devised, to break that harmony. The Khwarjis of early Islam revolted because of their disenchantment with their most respected personalities of the Faith, whereas the ISIL have revolted on three different counts:

* Shia-Sunni conflict and the collusion of their leaders with the enemies of Islam, has created deep hatred for the rulers. Shia & Sunni countries now are pitched against each other in Syria – a reminiscence of the battles of Jamal and Siffin.

* The ‘shock and awe’ punishment perpetrated on the Muslims, has created deep chasm of hate. There is only one example of such an inhuman treatment meted out to the fleeing Germans at Dresden in 1945, when the American and the Allied Airpower brutally butchered more than half a million innocent Germans in a free for all killing spree, of a few days.

* The ‘pogrom’ of marginalizing God, over the God-centered order, the Muslims believe and follow, is the biggest irritant of all times for the Muslims of the world. Pakistan is seething, under such a pressure.

President Obama and the allies think that by using the military power they can “contain, degrade and destroy the ISIL,” yet the problem goes much beyond the capability of the military, to restore order. The Americans went all out to destroy Al-Qaida and claim to have killed Osama and his entire network, yet Al-Qaida is alive, splintered and spreading over several countries and more destructive than ever. How to deal with ISIS, is the primarily concern of the USA. In the past, the Muslim World was able to contain and assimilate the Khwarjis into the Islamic order. That is the approach, the civilized world must follow. Of necessity, it requires of the Americans and their allies a cool heart and a perceptive mind, to develop a new strategy, a new plan and a new approach to deal with this problem, because at present ‘they don’t know what else to do.’ Use of military has become their ‘Default Option.’

An important factor to remember is that, the ISIS of today is occupying enough space to expand beyond those limits. The Khwarjis of the past, occupied no space, but enjoyed the support of a group of people who could challenge the Caliph of the time. Someone has very wisely warned about the consequences of the “Default Option”, President Obama is planning to apply through a ‘Coalition of the Willing:”

“Destroying what Obama calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant won’t create an effective and legitimate Iraqi state. It won’t restore the possibility of a democratic Egypt. It won’t dissuade Saudi Arabia from funding jihadists. It won’t pull Libya back from the brink of anarchy. It won’t end the Syrian civil war. It won’t bring peace and harmony to Somalia and Yemen. It won’t persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms in Afghanistan. It won’t end the perpetual crisis of Pakistan. It certainly won’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And all the military power in the world won’t solve those problems, mostly because he and his advisers don’t know what else to do. Bombing has become his administration’s default option.”- Reuters

Of course Obama is not oblivious of the reality, as he himself says “Oh, it’s a shame when you have a dissident professional President, with no foreign policy, other than “don’t do stupid things”.

(General Mirza Aslam Beg -Former COAS, Pakistan)

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