ISIS’s Threat to the International Structure
by :Ali Adnan Mohammed – Iraq
The emergence of the Islamic State has brought along different ways of looking at the phenomenon called “terrorism”. The term terrorism was widely known to describe the actions that were carried out by Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida was described in different terms, but it was commonly referred to as a “group” or “organization”. Even though different terms were used to refer to Al-Qaida and
other terrorist organizations, none of them were a “State”. In 2014, the organization widely recognized as the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) announced the establishment of the Islamic State. This announcement marked a transformation point in the history of terrorism.
The Islamic State was able to perform in a highermanner than Al-Qaida, it was able to hold territory, have more fighters, expand its effects, and aim at long-term goals. Danial Byman, a researcher in the Council of Foreign Affairs, said “ISIS may use terrorism as a tactic, but it is not a terrorist organization. Rather, it is a pseudo-state led by a conventional army.”Its ability to create a state in the lands it held raises different questions and doubts. IS was a stranger who was able to get a room in a house filled with people who dislike it on different levels. Those people are the actors in the international community that IS tried to force itself into. IS had most of the fundamentals for establishing a state ready, except for recognition, before declaring itself as a state.In June 2014, the group, beside the announcement of the establishment of a state, asked all Muslims around the world to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. The Islamic State was asking for recognition from the Muslim community.An estimated number of 21 terrorist groups around the worldalong with nearly 22.000 foreign fighters pledged allegiance to IS. One of those groups is Boko-Haram, a terrorist organization operating in Nigeria, andanother is Jemaah Islamiyah,operatingin South East Asia.
The emergence of IS reflects that the international approach to fight terrorism has not been effective.The declaration of an Islamic state by ISIS is the ultimate objective of Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida aims to replace the Middle Eastern corrupt regimes with true Islamic governments. However, Al-Qaida started fighting the American influence because it views it as the root of the problems in the region. Thus, Al-Qaida and ISIS share the same objective, but the steps they are taking are different. ISIS declaring a state was nothing more than achieving, temporarily, Al-Qaida’s main objective. The difference between Al-Qaida and ISIS does not get them on different sides. For the warriors who devoted their lives to fight terrorism, Al-Qaida and ISIS are playing in the same team, and they scored a goal in June 2014.
This shows that the efforts of the international community to fight terrorism succeeded in weakening Al-Qaida rather than weakening the ideology Al-Qaida used as a tool of manipulation. As a result, ISIS emerged to carry out the goals Al-Qaida once declared as their own. June 2014 should have been also a transformation point in the history of war on terrorism. The global war should take another approach.
The declaration of a state did not only uncover the failure of the war on terror, but also posed a threat to the international structure. ISIS gave itself sufficient legitimacy to declare a state on the territory of Syria and Iraq. Thus, it ignored the entire global structure, making their announcement legitimate through the support of some Muslims around the world. By doing so, every terrorist attack that happened or is going to happen is not a way to push Western influence out of the Middle East anymore;rather it is an expression of legitimacy of ISIS in the new structure they brought along with their announcement. Al-Qaida was breaking the rules that the international structure is built upon in order to achieve what they believe to be justice in the Middle East. IS, however, did not only break the rules to achieve justice, but it is also trying to bring new rules to the game.
Theglobal powers should understand that terrorism is not merely a threat to their influence. It has grown up to be a challenge to the entire international structure the global powers are striving to maintain. It takes more than a hostile approach towards Muslims or aggressive military interventions to end terrorism. Apparently, those two tactics proved to be ineffective. This is neither a world war nor a cold war. It is both of them combined.Terrorism has started to threaten the international institutions that maintain an organized anarchy by the declaration of a state. Then, it challenged those institutions by calling all Muslims to pledge allegiance.ISIS is coming to an end, but the international community should take into consideration that the theory, ideology, and thestructure that ISIS brought is still out there inside the Muslims who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. After WWI, Germans paid for the mistakestheir leaders committed. This generated hatred that was later used as a manipulation tool to ignite the fire for WWII. The hostile approach towards Muslims would only increase the number of Muslims
pledging allegiance to ISIS-like organizations. However, the soft approach with Germans after WWII led the people to not only alter their thinking, but also be embarrassed of what they did