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ISIS: Nation, Terrorists or a Strategy?

2014 saw a phenomenal event unfold; ISIS mushroomed into existence and terrified the wider Middle East, most importantly Syria and Iraq. How did intelligence agencies like the CIA and others fail to comprehend the enormity of ISIS?

In October, ISIS declared war against China and India, why? In the case of China, there has been violence against the Uyghur Muslim minority in its Xinjiang province, but major massacres have taken place in Nepal where approximately 250 Muslims were slaughtered by Buddhists. Similar violence can be seen in Sri Lanka where four Muslims were left dead while hundreds of shops and homes were destroyed.

ISIS is picking and choosing its targets based on what theory? In October, ISIS leaflets and banners appeared in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan, which is already engaged in a war with the Taliban, has a strong political network and a powerful army to back the government. However, Kabul does not.

After 13 years, the War against Terror still continues. Osama Bin Laden is dead, but Al-Qaeda still exists and is now being supplanted by ISIS which is recruiting radicals from North America, Europe and Australia. ISIS, which initially seemed to be a Sunni organization that was killing or imprisoning anyone but Sunnis, has as of November 2014 started attacks against the Sunnis in Iraq.

The so-called caliphate is trying to infiltrate areas that seem strategically important for the United States. A pre-occupied China, an emerging India and a strategic Pakistan and Afghanistan will leave a region engaged in a destructive battle against a regime which is receiving over 30 million dollars a month and have access to military grade ammunitions. Where are the funds coming from and how is ISIS acquiring such equipment?

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda, which are based in Afghanistan, enjoyed much more immunity in the region. They heavily relied on weapons left behind from the Afghan-Soviet war or those smuggled through its rough terrain. The Taliban, renowned for their atrocities against women do not compare to ISIS and their treatment of women. Recently it has been reported that ISIS is selling Yazidi women for ammunition. These women are priced according to age and appearance.

It seems the bigger losers in the grand scheme of things are the Muslim nations and the Ummat, which has been falsely represented by a 0.02 percent of its population as a people who endorse violence as a form of religion. More so, it seems the hidden ISIS agenda is further highlighted by the silence of Muslim countries.

While the debate over ISIS’ origins will continue for some times, it is the right time to address this regional and potentially global threat.