2014: The Conflict with Islamic State Should Teach the West a Lesson
Novinite's team is publishing brief daily comments about major events that have taken place in Bulgaria and abroad this year.
At a first glance the militant group Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq caught the world by surprise.
A second look, however, places IS within the context of the string of events originated in Syria's civil war, the instability and US troops' withdrawal in Iraq, involvement of the West and Turkey in the Syrian conflict and, generally speaking, the constant battle for predominance within the region.
After having conquered a few Iraqi cities and large swathes of land in Syria, IS (then still Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL) declared a "Caliphate" within the territories under its control. The Sunni extremist group's excesses prompted the US and other states to intervene, launching air strikes on IS targets in Syria and Iraq. Kobane, near the Turkish border, was the tipping point which reminded of both the weight Bulgaria's southern neighbor could throw behind the operations in Syria and its vulnerability to the conflict. The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, well over a million in the summer, swelled by hundreds of thousands just within a few months. Nevertheless, despite US pressure Ankara refuses to directly intervene in Syria unless Washington agrees to setting up a buffer zone and to an operation which would topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.
What is it that strikes one most about IS? Was it infringement on the Yezidi community or persecution of "unfaithful" Christians or Shia Muslims? Were abductions and beheadings of foreign journalists and aid workers, the events that turned out to be most shocking to European media outlets? IS itself, on the other hand, is not that much impressed with the right to life: its looks at Westerners' bodies as war trophies, while their souls (the souls of those attracted to the jihadis' side) are a huge blow to the democratic world.
Comments as to how IS correlates to the essence of one of the world's most popular monotheistic religions also go both ways: Arab Studies expert Vladimir Chukov argues the group's beliefs are a "deviation", while according to Iraqi-born Bulgarian journalist Mohamed Khalaf it embodies "the pure essence of Islam", which unlike Christianity has not been, in his words, "reformed" yet.
What seems to be a bigger concern are the reasons why IS emerged. This environment will certainly produce new and new "Islamic States" even after this one is swept away. The lack of proper statehood preventing sectarian conflicts and refraining from any sacrifice of its citizens' well-being in the name of "higher" goals such as predominance in proxy wars. Apart from being a factor carrying repercussions to regional and world economy, IS is also a symptom of the impossibility of Middle Eastern governments to bring peace and well-being to their societies, either due to foreign or domestic factors. Hiding behind the veil of the West's "destructive interventions", this incapability of Middle Eastern governments actually leads to the injection of "fresh blood" - fighters from across the world - into the IS system and turns into the latest justification for a militant group that has received assistance from various sources to "break free" and enter the war of influence that has been shaking the region.
Islamic State is the lesson that the West should eventually learn this time after failing to do so with either Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
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Can you just remind me about when "the west" became a nation, free and powerful or otherwise?
You go out to work to feed your cat, not the other way round - so who is the simple-minded one? Moreover, if IS were to take over wherever you happen to live, she is the one whose skills make her the more likely to survive of the pair of you.
Education is always wasted if it isn't a life-long process - from your comment it looks like it's time for you to get back on the treadmill, if it isn't already too late for you....
Sometimes I feel that there are truly people out there with a voice that should be quieted. Hitler was one that we let go too far. Anyone that believes that units like IS are an acceptable entity in society are only proof that evolution does not effect all equally and education is wasted on a few. The west learned it's lessons hundreds of years ago when we walked away from persecution and became the most powerful free nation on the planet. Sure we have much to learn yet and we accept this, that is why we talk instead of removing heads. In my heart I do feel for those that find life to be just a game they should control, I pet my cat knowing she is a 'simple minded' killer, maybe I should chop her head off instead, teach all those cats a lesson.
Karl Marx said religion is the opium of the masses.
Religions are part of human existance and offer comfort to many.
But as IS shows religion can be twisted to do awful things.
It does not make religion wrong, only the people who twist and manipulate it for evil purposes are wrong.
And here's a question for YOU, Mr Petrov: what do IS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban all have in common? In case you can't spot the obvious, it's a crazy adherence to a medieval myth which they believe is the "word" of a non-existent Man In The Sky.
Many it's time to stop pandering to people who demonstrate their lack of simple cognitive function by choosing to believe in the various flavours of Pie In The Sky When You Die and stamp out the ludicrous concept of religion altogether?