After the emergence of a video showing the grisly murder by beheading of US journalist James Foley at the hands of a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), we are seeing a repeat of the same in a new video of what is being said as the beheading of another US journalist captured and kept by ISIS, Steven Sotloff. That this is a crime most heinous is of little doubt but the fact that ISIS is creating a signature of brutality should not be ignored. They have gone on a murderous rampage against the Christian, Yazidi minorities and the Shia majorityin Iraq where they have conquered a swath of territory to establish their ‘caliphate’. The US has carried out airstrikes against ISIS following its attacks against minorities and Sotloff’s death is being reported as retaliation for the US’s growing impatience with the militant outfit.
The fact remains that, no matter how savage such militant groups are, the political vacuums created in the Arab world due to the policy of imperial adventurism and intervention carried out by Bush Jr and Obama over the past 13 years have enabled such militant organisations to flourish. The first to fall was Saddam Hussein, who, for all his faults, did oversee a relatively prosperous and stable Iraqi state. The next was Gaddafi and we can see now what has become of Libya, struggling with a civil war. The same can be said about Syria even though Bashar al Assad is still in power. That ISIS has crept in suddenly as an occupying force capturing tracts of land in Syria and Iraq should not surprise anyone. They believe they will enforce a caliphate stretching from Iraq to Spain, cruel and ruthless in its ideology.
While we feel the grief of the families of the slain journalists, killed by reportedly a UK citizen member of ISIS, we cannot help but raise an eyebrow at the US and its allies at their feigned naivety. Did they not think their arming of jihadi proxies during the Cold War and subsequent adventures in the Muslim world would reap disastrous results?
According to reports, pamphlets by ISIS are being distributed in Peshawar and the border towns with Afghanistan in a bid to extend their influence. Once again, one must state that the political uncertainty in the country is allowing for such extreme outfits to engage and expand here. We must not allow this to happen for ISIS is a bloodthirsty group, even chastised by Osama bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda. This is one threat that must be beaten back by all state powers around the globe. *