[op-ed snap] Taking stock of Islamic State 2.0

Mains Paper 3 : External State & Non-State Actors: Challenges To Internal Security. |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : isis

Mains level : Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka suggest challenges for indian security.


CONTEXT

On Easter Sunday this year, April 21, Sri Lanka witnessed a series of coordinated bomb blasts, killing over 250 people. It was the heaviest toll in Sri Lanka in terms of lives lost since the civil war ended in 2009, thus ending a decade of peace.

Attack by IS

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself was to announce subsequently that the attacks in Sri Lanka were revenge for the fall of the Syrian town of Baghuz, the last IS-ruled village overrun by Syrian forces in March this year.

Reason for South Asia As a target

  •  South Asia today is a virtual cauldron of radical Islamist extremist activity. From Afghanistan through Pakistan to the Maldives to Bangladesh, radical Islamist extremism is an ever present reality.
  • Both India and Sri Lanka, however, prefer to believe that they are shielded from such tendencies, but this needs a relook.

 

Radicalisation of youth

  • In the case of Sri Lanka, it is by now evident that officials had turned a blind eye to the fact that areas such as Kattankudy and its environs in the northeast have become hotbeds of Wahabi-Salafi attitudes and practices.
  • Muslim youth here have been radicalised to such an extent that it should have set alarm bells ringing.
  • The advent of the IS occurred at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, at a time when a new breed of terrorists had emerged, inspired by the Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, and the Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam.
  • Combining this with the practical theology of Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani made for a potent mixture.
  • In addition to this, the IS introduced the concept of a new Caliphate — especially al-Baghdadi’s vision of a Caliphate based on Islamic history.
  • This further ignited the imagination of Muslim youth across the globe and became a powerful magnet to attract volunteers to their cause.

Pivotal role of the Net

  •  It retains its ability to proselytise over the Internet, making a special virtue of ‘direct-to-home’ jihad.
  • In Sri Lanka, a close knit web of family relationships has ensured secrecy and prevented leakage of information, thereby opting for methods of old-time anarchists.

 Idea as the moving force

  • The real threat that the IS, however, poses is that it is able to convince the Muslim extremist fringe that their time has come.
  •  Radicalization, in any event, has less to do with numbers than with the intensity of beliefs. The struggle is not against presumed disparities or injustices meted out to Muslim minorities.
  • Rather, it reflects the quest for a new militant Islamist identity.

Lessons for India

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) during its investigations has since come across links connecting IS units in Kerala and Tamil Nadu with the NTJ in Sri Lanka. T
  • IS 2.0 is likely to nurture two types: the less informed rabid supporters and a band of highly radical ideologues who can entice Muslim youth to their cause.
  • The path to radicalisation of both segments is through the Internet.
  • Time spent alone online listening to propaganda can produce fanaticism of the most extreme variety.
  • It could promote a binary world view of a conflict between ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’, allowing radical Islamists to set the agenda.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism
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