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The Global Jihadi

August 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm | News Desk

By Yasmeen Aftab Ali

There is a myth that speaks about the Muslim supremacy. It talks of the ancient Khurasan that will be the cradle for the theater of war and will cinch for Muslims a complete supremacy in the war over infidels. The ancient Khurasan includes modern day parts of Iran, Afghanistan, the Central Asian republics and some areas that are now part of Pakistan. The global jihadi interprets the myth according to his thinking and to suit his own end.

According to the thought process of the global jihadi, once the war is won in the Khurasan theater, he plans a march to the Middle East, from where he believes al-Mahdi to rise and join hands with them to then wage war and liberate Palestine. Hence, the global jihadi spurned the thought of starting the movement from anywhere else but from Khurasan.

Global jihadists have always been hostile to regimes. Early Islamist revolutionaries in Egypt were virtually always anti-American. Algerian jihadists in the 1990s were hostile to the French. Ayman al-Zawahiri spent thirty years fighting the Egyptian regime before merging his organization with al-Qaeda. Intertwined is the history of Afghanistan having driven out the British, the Russians and now; the Americans. The modern jihadi draws a parallel between the events of 1842 and the present scenario in Afghanistan.

So, anything to do with and perceived as western values was also spurned, their education, their medication, their organizational assistance (WHO, UNICEF). Health workers administering polio drops have been repeatedly attacked and killed in Pakistan. Assistance programs have repeatedly been suspended and restarted. Allies of the west were targeted, decried as heretics for standing by them. Fatwas were issued against them- people joined the ranks of the global jihad, individuals as well as organizations. It draws support from all kinds of people, educated as well as uneducated and semi-educated. Their local objectives are usually supported so long the overall objective does not suffer. Drone attacks made indoctrination of jihadi philosophy easier. It justified acts of terrorism, the bomb blasts, the suicide bombers, the kidnappings, fueling sectarianism – ends justified the means. The internet revolution in the 2000s has greatly helped in the production and distribution of jihadi propaganda. The state machinery in absence of a workable anti-terrorism strategy has inadvertently facilitated the non-state actors in spreading the act of terrorism and leaving death and fear in its wake.

The global jihadi is largely believed to have turned against Pakistan and her army after the Lal Masjid incident. Lal Masjid was aimed to use the existing Islamic seminaries to rise against the west on the war on terror. Negotiations between the government officials and Maulana Abdul Aziz had to fail in light of this aim. Neither did the effort of reasoning by Mufti Taqi Usmani, a known Islamic scholar and Maulana’s spiritual guide, who especially flew in from Karachi to reason with the Maulana, bore fruit.

Peace talks are used by the global jihadi mostly to buy time to regroup. This again makes logical sense in light of the overall philosophy followed. Hence it is not surprising that Ehsanullah Ehsan was sacked as spokesperson of TTP on charges of making comments that raise a danger of divisions between the TTP and its Afghan counterpart. This global philosophy may well be the reason why Doha parleys were a non-starter. As to why the global jihadi agreed to the idea that may well be to give a false feeling of progressing on the issue to those it opposes – playing for time. The cord was snapped early owing to the death of TTP deputy commander Wali ur Rehman in a drone strike. This was followed with the Doha flag row.

In a new development recently, the Pakistani Taliban has set up camps in Syria ad joined the rebels in the war against President Bashar al-Assad. Later the Pakistan Taliban denied having sent anyone officially over. This was confirmed by UN as well. A Taliban official told the BBC upon visiting Syria that the base was set up with the assistance of ex-Afghan fighters of Middle Eastern origin who had moved to Syria in recent years. The sectarian card is being played here, taking the high moral ground that Sunni Muslims, who constitute a majority in Syria, are being oppressed by Syria’s predominantly Shia rulers, although UN has investigated and found the allegation of Syrian rebels leveled at the government having used chemical weapons that killed many, is baseless. Rather, it is the rebels who have used them.

The Al-Qaeda political philosophy is radical Islamism – the doctrine that governments must be forced to conform to Islamic law as they conceive it to be. It may support Islamist groups and draw support from them but through sustained, focused and objective related materials that imbibes them with their philosophy, swelling its ranks and broadening its own base all the time. This linking- up joins the groups in a bond known as ‘blood brothers.’ Is this a reaction to the current Tenth Crusade as promoted by some researchers?

The fact remains, any interpretation by the Global Jihadi that justifies innocent killing of innocent people, of posing hurdles in the way of education, of treating women as cattle, cannot be justified by any law or religion. Such an approach can only be deemed to be misguided.

In the current scenario after nearly 11 years of war led by the American invasion in Afghanistan, Afghan security forces will just not be prepared enough to fight the Afghan Taliban once US exits. Intelligence gathering and logistics need support. This is a soft area and on the eve of American troops withdrawing its combat forces from Afghanistan, may well result in the country descending into civil war.  The US is also seriously considering a complete withdrawal in 2014. This however may also be a warning to Karzai to support US-led peace efforts. Pakistan is already facing continuing and on-going terrorism within its borders and is completely ill-equipped to handle a further spill-over of the same. There is an absence of a realistically workable anti-terrorism policy. A bird’s eye view of issues involved must be identified first to make any such policy work.

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book, ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan.’

News Desk

Economic Affairs Editor

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