The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group is equally dangerous as al-Qaeda. However, concerning its global reputation, there are four factors that have contributed to ISIS gaining popularity across the world through different media outlets.
Firstly, ISIS enjoys the support of Iran, as well as Bashar al-Assad’s regime to expand. Second, there is the extent of its horrific acts. Third, there is its advanced use of media outlets, developed production techniques and social media. And the last and most important factor is the failure of the former American administration to do anything useful to confront and get rid of the organization.
There are still some dark aspects regarding ISIS, as little is known about the militant group’s relations with other countries. However all this will become clear in the near future, especially given the current American administration’s strong inclination to put an end to Iran’s acts of tampering with the region via its militias and the Sunni terrorist groups it sponsors.
New international balances will contribute to besieging Iran and forcing it to retreat and to keep away from all these uncalculated adventures which aim to impose control and from ambitions to impose its failed dominationAbdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi
A group of Sunni fundamentalists that will include representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islam and terrorist organizations will cooperate with Shiite fundamentalists from Iran and its militias in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria. Together they will launch a campaign to attack Gulf countries. Particularly criticizing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have recently strengthened their alliance with America during Donald Trump’s presidential term.
These fundamentalist groups, which have been allied for a long time now, will coordinate their efforts and enjoy unlimited support from the Iranian regime. Therefore, regional countries who support Sunni fundamentalism must figure out where they stand in all of this and make up their mind whether they give their support to states or to groups. They must look after their interests with Gulf countries instead of identifying with the Brotherhood’s fundamental anti-Gulf project.
Suspicious organizations, which resemble Afghan Arab groups, have been present in Pakistan and have existed for years now, but their time to take up arms has not come yet. However, this does not mean that they are not freely preparing for that as they continue with their gatherings and planning for an upraise. During the Afghan war, this was known as “preparation” for “enablement” which is seizing control and reviving the dream of the so-called caliphate.
This dream is what brings political Islam movements and violent religious groups together. The Muslim Brotherhood is heading towards gradual weakening but this does not necessarily mean its end as this requires mature and comprehensive international efforts that address the sources of extremism and do not only address the terrorist act.
Meanwhile, the presence of other political Islam groups such as Sururism and Qutbism is on the rise. These groups reflect an integration between Salafism and the Brotherhood in some Arab, Islamic and even western countries.
After ISIS’ gradual weakening, other organizations with different names will emerge to play the same hideous terrorist role. This is what will happen unless the causes of religious extremism are uprooted. The major priority will be resolving the issue of armed sectarian groups. This sectarianism is sponsored by Iran that uses an inflammatory rhetoric to export it to Arab countries in the forms of militias. This is the case in Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa, which Iran claims to fully control, even if it does so via operating espionage cells, spreading sectarianism and funding terrorism.
New international balances will contribute to besieging Iran and forcing it to retreat and to keep away from all these uncalculated adventures which aim to impose control and from ambitions to impose its failed domination. As a result, Iran’s militias, parties and organizations will wear out due to their treason and collaboration.
Rearranging the region will facilitate the task of the Arab coalition which is led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to support legitimacy in Yemen and liberate it from Iran’s claws so it can return to its Arab roots. The Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism will then be capable of playing efficient and influential roles in the entire Islamic world.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.