Is The ISIS Age Over?!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Wed 2 November / Nov 2016. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Wed 2 November / Nov 2016. 09:18 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

As Iraqi forces approach the eastern parts of Mosul, and the Raqqa battle imminent in Syria, it seems the ISIS “state” has become more or less a scattered dispersion of isolated cantons and hot pockets, reducing the once extensive Daesh reign of terror into steam.

That said, the million dollar question, more importantly, remains, and it goes beyond military defeat, to ideology: will the ideological influence of ISIS recede? Will the lone wolves phenom dissipate with the disintegration of Daesh?

We, here, are faced with an inquiry that requires extensive theorisation and analysis, on multiple tiers and frontiers.

First, there rises a need to thoroughly explore the historical instances of these movements, before, as military defeat has rarely ever led to their inhalation or extinction. Quite contrarily, in many instances, these organisations came back stronger, stricter, the way Taliban did in the aftermath of the Afghani war in 2001. The same goes for ISIS themselves, after the 2008 awakenings. Typically, this is not an absolute generalisation; there are other Jihadist movements that did in fact recede, due to either internal dispute or auto critique, like some Islamist groups in Egypt, and the rest of the Jihadi brotherhood following their leaders left them.

Accordingly, there are two major variables that factor the current terror group’s future in Iraq and Syria:

On one level, the first factor is the political condition, particularly that of the Sunni components; as to whether or not the community views the ISIS model feasible, especially among proponents, and the relation that binds the rise of the group to the incubating social environment.

On another level, the second factor has to do with the subjective attributes of the ISIS organisation itself, in comparison to previous movements, including Qaeda. The terror group marked a ground breaking mutation in the world of the Salafi Jihadist discourse, to the point that prominent anti-ISIS theorists have now become worried by the massive leap Daesh made. The group declared the establishment of the “State” and the “Caliphate”, all the while instrumenting Islamist symbolism all too proficiently, to successfully reach thousands of Jihadi and Islamist youths across the Arab and Islamist worlds, notwithstanding the west!

Albeit brutal and cruel, but strong, the group were able to reconstruct an image that negated the weakness and vacancy of Arab society; ISIS introduced themselves as the valiant protector and defender of the Sunni identity, conversing a clear and upfront sectarian dialect, founding all together a massive attraction to thousands of people around the world.

The brief analysis above indicate that answering to the group’s attractiveness, even with its current recession, is a complicated and difficult task, requiring wider dialogue and discussion.

Yet, there stand two views into the issue:

First, is the view that states ISIS is not going to be the final attempted embodiment of the Islamist “Utopia", but more or less the beginning of a new approach into the attainment of the Islamist dream, especially since there are thousands going home. Additionally, the objective and realistic factors driving the crisis endure still, with the possibility that the “Sunni tragedy” may even culminate further in Iraq and Syria, coupled with a growing sense of Sunni Islam being targeted. That, all of it, would justify the sustenance of the ISIS ideology despite a military defeat.

On the other hand, the second approach into the issue, says that the group’s failure to establish and maintain the Islamist state will reflect negatively on many youths, tangled up in the hopes of the promised state; so sure of victory and expansion, as its own slogan promised, encouraging them to join, work, and execute operations to support the realisation of the new project. Afterwards, when the dust has settled, and the project is exposed to being unrealistic and spontaneous, its attractiveness will fade, and the youth will go find their ways back into other options, like Qaeda, or perhaps ones that fall outside of the whole Jihadist line.