Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - Page 9 News List

Failure to tackle causes of al-Qaeda has led to the IS

By Hassan Hassan  /  The Observer

The Islamic State (IS), previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, released a video earlier this month showing a group of Arab extremists on a slaughtering frenzy in eastern Syria. On the floor were several tied-up Syrian rebels, prepared for the knife.

“The best thing about what you did is that you started with the Military Council, no question about this one,” says an Egyptian member in jest, referring to the killing of a fighter affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, deemed by the Islamic State to be apostates for working with the West.

A Tunisian member then raises the head of his next victim and tells him: “Brother, you will be slaughtered now, brother.”

The Egyptian then tells his colleagues that the videos should not be uploaded to the Internet, to which the Tunisian replies: “Brother, I like these scenes. I like to watch them at night.”

The video received little international media attention, compared with last week’s gruesome murder of US photojournalist James Foley. However, it was widely circulated in the Middle East as the scene of the Islamic State extremists joking and laughing about their victims revealed a new level of barbarity to the group. It was not only cold-blooded, but also sadistic. Those who have often justified the group’s barbarity as a necessary aspect of wars saw a different face.

COMMON CAUSE

The two murders, in a morbid way, united the East and West against the Islamic State. In western Asia, Foley’s killing was widely condemned. Many took to social media to offer condolences to his family, mostly emphasizing that people in the region, primarily from the religious sect the Islamic State claims to represent, have suffered from the group in the same way.

However, many objected to the West’s readiness to act against the Islamic State, despite the group having slaughtered thousands of people, displaced whole villages and demolished places of worship.

Despite these actions, people have contrasted the West’s response to Foley’s killing by being ready to strike the Islamic State’s bases with its lack of an appropriate response to the havoc the Islamic State systematically wreaked for months in the region against Syrians.

They said that some of the most atrocious killing happened as the US was preparing to intervene to save stranded Yazidis in northern Iraq.

However, despite the ambivalence toward the West, people and politicians in the region have been unequivocal in their condemnation of the Islamic State. On Tuesday last week, Saudi Arabian Grand Mufti Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheik described the Islamic State as Islam’s “Enemy No. 1” and called for “decisive” measures against clerics who lure young Saudis into extremism.

Even radical clerics associated with al-Qaeda have made unparalleled statements about the group.

Abu Mariya al-Qahtani, until recently the second top official of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front in Syria, asked al-Qaeda to “apologize and repent to God” for failing to speak out against the extremism of the Islamic State’ predecessors in Iraq.

The failure to condemn their acts in Iraq was a direct cause of the group’s extremism today, he said.

Atiyatallah al-Libi, an al-Qaeda ideologue from Libya, said that the indiscriminate killing of innocent Muslims did not represent “jihadism.”

Politically, there seems to be a race throughout the region over who is better positioned to fight the Islamic State.

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