In hijacking Islam, whose interest is IS serving?

Islamic State (IS), whose desert juggernaut is sweeping across Iraq and Syria, is neither Islamic nor a state. It is a terror group whose victims are not only the hapless minorities in Iraq but also Muslims and Islam itself.

From womb to tomb, everything that involves people is politicised. Thus it comes as no surprise when religion is used as a political tool by groups such as IS and states such as Israel to achieve demonic objectives. In the name of religion, these groups and states adopt terror as a policy to perpetrate injustice, colonialism, illegal land grabs, and mass killings. They forget that the spirit of religion upholds justice, peace and security and its morals try to humanise politics.

Although little is known about IS or its agenda, the lack of effective early action by the Western powers to check its excesses has given rise to speculation that the group, either knowingly or unknowingly, serves the West’s interests or those of Israel.

The more powerful IS becomes, the more it serves the interests of Israel which seeks to balkanise the Middle East and establish Greater Israel that stretches from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates – a state that will include parts of Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the whole of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and, of course, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The dream of establishing Greater Israel or Eretz Israel will not be impossible if the Arab world is reduced to bits of mutually hostile Bantustans which will hardly have any military strength or political will to stop Israel’s march toward that goal.

The process of balkanisation of the Arab world began with the “Great Arab betrayal of the Ottoman Empire” one hundred years ago. The Arabs were Ottoman subjects, enjoying regional autonomy. But the Brits manoeuvered the Arabs, just as some hidden hands are manoeuvering IS today. The Arab legions deserted the Ottoman Army and fought alongside the British against the Ottomans during World War I. The Ottomans lost the war and their hold on the Middle East and North Africa, but the Arabs lost the peace. The end of the war saw the implementation of the first phase of the Zionist project of balkanisation of the Arab world, with war victors Britain and France – the facilitators of the World Zionist Movement -- creating a half a dozen new states from the conquered Ottoman land.

Today, another major phase of the Zionist’s balkanisation project is taking shape – with not only Iraq, but also Libya, Syria, Lebanon and several other Arab nations in political turmoil and hurtling towards the further splintering of the Arab world.

The Western powers have the wherewithal to go after what they perceive as a threat to their strategic interests. But in the case of IS, they are either silent or take only limited action. In effect, they have allowed IS to go on rampage in Iraq and Syria, making one wonder whether the West sees IS as a useful tool to achieve its strategic goals. Or probably, the West is facilitating the Zionists’ balkanisation project. Even as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed fears about a possible genocide of Iraq’s Yazidi minorities, who are fleeing from the fanatic fighters of IS led by the self-styled Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the United States yesterday tried hard to build up a case for not putting troops on the ground.  The Yazidis are a Kurdish speaking ethnic group which follows a religion that is linked to ancient Zoroastrianism and Islamic Sufism. However, IS describes the Yazidis as devil-worshippers.

A Reuter news agency report yesterday said a US mission to evacuate the Yazidis trapped on a mountain was far less likely after a US assessment team sent there on Wednesday found the humanitarian situation not as grave as feared.

In an earlier statement, the White House said even if the US had to send American ground forces to Iraq in an operation to rescue the trapped Yazidis, the troops would not engage in combat with IS.

White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the 130 military advisors the US sent to Erbil would not play any combat role.

He noted that US President Barack Obama had repeatedly ruled out “reintroducing US forces into combat on the ground in Iraq.”

Even the US airstrikes early this week on IS targets were not aimed at dealing a crushing blow to the group. Rather they were aimed at preventing al-Baghdadi’s forces from marching towards Baghdad and Erbil (or Arbil), the capital of oil producing Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous region which maintains close relations with Israel and the US.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly promoted Kurdistan’s independence from Iraq.

President Obama in a statement authorising the airstrikes said the US would take whatever steps were necessary to protect its interests in Erbil and Baghdad. In other words, he permits the IS’s territorial gains provided the group stops short of capturing Erbil and Baghdad. Such a stance indicates that the US endorses the status quo or the likely break-up of Iraq into three small states, while it encourages IS to carry out more carnage. Ironically or otherwise, IS fighters are also helped by US weapons that, against many odds, have fallen into the hands of al-Baghdadi’s soldiers following their battles with Iraqi forces and US-armed Syrian rebels.

Adding to the conundrum is the political chaos in Iraq with the incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki going to courts to challenge the presidential action of nominating Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite like Maliki, as the next prime minister. Maliki in a petition to Iraq’s Supreme Court claimed that as the leader of the biggest bloc in the parliament, it was he, not Abadi, whom the president should invite to form a government.

As defence minister, Maliki has appointed loyalists to top positions in the army. Will his army officers stay loyal to him or switch allegiance to Abadi who is backed by not only the US and Iraq’s Kurds and Sunnis, but also by Iran? Maliki has urged the military, which has not recovered from its earlier defeats in battles with IS, to stay out of politics.  However, Maliki’s supporters have taken to the streets in a show of strength.

But the confusion that reigns in Iraq only works to the advantage of al-Baghdadi, whose forces are committing acts which are as horrendous and barbaric as Israel’s war crimes in Gaza in recent weeks. Incidentally, we are yet to see a mainstream news report that IS has condemned Israel’s massacre of innocent civilians in Gaza. However, a statement purportedly issued by a spokesman for IS appeared on an Israeli website ( The IS spokesman had said the time was not right for a confrontation with Israel.

Such vague statements create suspicion about the group’s Islamic credentials and add credibility to the claims that Israel created IS and supports it. Among those who subscribe to such theory is Iran’s Army Chief of Staff Hassan Firouzabadi who insists that Israel has dealings with IS, especially with regard to the war in Syria, where other rebels groups, including the battle-hardened al-Qaeda franchise al-Nusra, are disintegrating unable to confront the heavily armed IS.

Meanwhile, the group’s actions that tarnish the image of Islam have drawn the ire of Muslims worldwide. They point out that al-Baghdadi’s actions go contrary to the teachings of Islam. During the early days of Islam some 14 centuries ago, the non-Muslim people of the vast Persian Empire saw the Muslim Caliph as a liberator and invited his army to invade their country to liberate them from the yoke of feudalism and slavery. There was no forced conversion as it went against the teachings of Islam. In sharp contrast to the early caliphs, the self-styled new caliph threatens at gunpoint Iraq’s Yazidis and Christians to convert to Islam. What’s more? They slaughter Muslims on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria. Among those killed by IS in Iraq was a Muslim professor who publicly opposed the group’s persecution of Christians.

The mainstream Western media see little newsworthiness in condemnations that IS draws from Muslims around the world. The group’s actions, especially its threat to the Yazidis and Christians, have been squarely denounced by Imams from Turkey to Indonesia as acts of terror which are un-Islamic and morally repugnant. In Britain, more than 100 Sunni and Shiite religious leaders in a joint statement decreed IS as an illegitimate, vicious group which did not represent Islam in any way.

Yet the group, which controls one third of Iraq and one third of Syria, continues its carnage regardless of these condemnations from across the Muslim world.  It earns more than US$ 3 million from oil and gas sales daily and boasts of a currency reserve of US$ 2 billion, while little is known about its 15,000-strong fighting force which has militants from scores of countries. Whatever it is, the group serves the West’s interests in Syria and Israel’s balkanisation programme in Iraq. It is seen as the only group that can eventually topple the Assad regime. So until this objective is achieved, the Western powers may go soft on IS which has hijacked Islam to commit crimes in its name.

  Comments - 3

You May Also Like