THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Geoffrey Cook* –
What we have seen in the recent past weeks has been unmentionable. The fight within the MENA (Middle East/North Africa) region is for the heart and soul of Islam in and of itself! Dar al-Islam is degenerating into an ever deeper Hell through civil war between Muslims there. What should be done to end the conflict, and to preserve the Faith inviolate? Further, how can us all protect ourselves in North America from the Islamophobia originating from the vulgar’s mainstream’s misunderstanding of the events within the ummah.
As I read more and more the description of newly liberated innocent Muslims from that “State” in the Middle East, the depiction of the Takfr army is delineated and it is horrible!
In a sense, they are unrightfully subsuming Sunni Islam unto themselves. They are projecting damnation against all those who do not believe as they: the Shia, the Christians and the Azidis – including the vast majority of Sunnis who do not hold the same opinions or religious expression of the Faith as they. Succinctly, because they have misinterpreted the Sharia, they claim that the scriptures and the Hadith and various rulings in past centuries give them the right to commit these abdominal acts upon the bodies and the dignity of those who hold a more correct understanding of the revelations of the Prophet (PBUH) whereas the scholars and the jurists throughout the generations have kept your Beliefs relevant to the historical environment whereas remaining true to the Divinely asserted Truths of the Seer (PBUH). The Takfr State ignores this adaptability of their religion. Holding, instead, to a historical vision that is questionable in much of its assumption.
As the Grand Mufti of Egypt i.e., al-Al, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, has said, the “Islamic” State is neither Islamic nor a “State.” (The French government’s policy is to use the Arabic acronym, DAASH [al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham], to denote the grouping — for it takes the connotation of Islam from them in the European languages. Incidentally, your author agrees with Paris, and will use “DAASH” instead other acronyms which unfairly employ the word “Islamic.”)
DAASH, through their brutality, is attempting to create a civil war between Sunnis and Shia within Dar al-Islam. They have so far failed for Sunnis and Shias as well as the Western Air Forces are destroying and degrading their ability to effectively attack. Furthermore, they are endeavoring to create a wedge between those Sunnis and the Shia to engender a civil war between the indigenous Arabs of the Fertile Crescent. DAASH is attempting to enforce their views and practice upon the indigenous there. Yet, IS’ beastly efforts have only have disseminated disgust over their violent apostasy over the Levant. Particularly, within the nation-States and the sub-nationalities which make up that zone.
Egypt’s response to the beheading of twenty-one Copts was positive in that it showed for a substantial minority community of that they are citizens whom their Muslim government will protect.
The clash is a ghastly collision of the foreign “conquistador” with the primordial resident of the soil. At the same time, to understand the raise of DAASH, one must comprehend the failure of the Arab “Spring.” It is a reaction to the suppression of democratic Islamism in that “Spring” by the ancien regime of authoritarianism and opportunism at the raise of instability at the failure of a democratic transition.
Although many readers who would disagree, your writer sees similarities with the Second World War in the brutality applied to non-combatants which boomeranged against the perpetrators then, and is happening now in Iraq/Syria. (Currently, a Christian Militia has been organized in Nineveh Province [of Iraq!] Besides, there is guerrilla activity outside of Raqqa (Syria), Daash’s “capital” itself). As well, the majority of the Coalition are Muslim Arabs or Kurds! After last Sunday’s incursion into Syrian Kurdistan, your researcher expect deeper involvement by the Turks since the issues that were holding them back have been lifted.
Kabane was DAASH’s Stalingrad, and it was the first major victory in the struggle, and may have been the turning point. At the moment the Kurds — and Iranians clandestinely — are taking back territory. The Kurds have been blocking Syria from Iraq. American troops are stationing combat forces (possibly Marines) covertly to shore up the sacrifices of the Kurds; strangling the “State’s” resupply routes at the two traditional nation-States there’s long-standing boundary to block DAASH’s re-enforcement of troops and material.
The Americans, Europeans and the Australians along with their allied Arab States – especially Jordan and the U.A.E. (with, surreptitiously, the Syrian and Iranian) air forces have been pounding DAASH. Also, this clash is begetting a rapprochement between the United States and Iran which could impact the geopolitical equation in the area in the future. With DAASH progressively being surrounded and degraded, the determinate encounter should be the redemption of Mosul.
The American military predicts the Iraqi army will advance toward Mosul in the spring. (I believe the public exposure of the plans for engagement a fortnight ago was leaked to confuse the combatant Takfr mercenaries from what the real strategy might be, which depends upon the conditions on the ground, during April and/or May.)
Already the Kurds are at the exurbs of that second most populated in city in Iraq, in fact, the Peshmerga are discharging projectiles at their opposing occupier-opponents presently ensconced in the urban confines. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that those (Syrian) Kurds will have broken through DAASH’s defenses there, and quite, possibly, overwhelmed the subjugated city before the national army is ready to move.
The Turks are tightly guarding their border with (Kurdish) Syria, and it seems that the army has been ordered not to let DAASH into their territory; so, for these mercenaries, an orderly retreat in that direction will be impossible. Jordan has done the same to seal its most porous border. It is not impossible to perceive both of these countries dedicating ground troops to a future fray, too. Slowly an encirclement is being achieved.
Iran has been active with the Iraqi Shia militias, and they have won important battles. This international Coalition, which is both overt and covert, is most fragile because of the Shia/Sunni split.
Essentially, there is a struggle between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shia) for the hegemony over the Middle East. The Saudis, the protector of Islam’s holiest of sites, have committed themselves to the Coalition, at the end of the late King Abdullah’s reign despite being the protector of Islam’s most sacred sites. Their military has run sorties against DAASH’s war effort in the name of their national interests. To achieve their territorial and international goals, a certain distance from the Sunni-Shia conflict must be maintained. For the “State” (DAASH’s) presence is already actively embedded within the Kingdom. Although the split is similar to that between the Protestants and the Romans Catholics in Christianity during the Occidental Renaissance, differences must be suspended be suspended between Sunnis and Shia for a time as the Capitalist West did with the Communist USSR (the former Union Soviet Socialist Republics) to defeat the Axis – especially Nazi Germany who were the moral equivalent of DAASH.
There are variables within this most positive scenario. One of them is DAASH’s ability to refurbish their ranks from Europe. Recently, Turkey has begun to detain foreign fighters from crossing into Syria. In order for a deceive outcome for the confrontation at Mosul, Takfr re-enforcements either in men or material must not on the battlefield.
The American General Petraeus, besides his famous martial tactic of the Surge, also, engendered the “Arab Awakening” during America’s aggression against Iraq. That involved in winning over the Sunni tribes who are in the area of where battles are being fought. With the Sectarianism of the al-Maliki’s leadership, the trust of the tribes has faded. There is a question amongst them, whether life led by a prejudiced Shia-dominated central government, could be much better than that with DAASH. A recent tragedy were a whole village was executed the most horrendous torture might give them thought to lean over towards the Coalition. On the twenty-third the Iraqi army is moving forward to clear DAASH from the trial area. Whatever, the tribes are vital to the fate of DAASH.
Yet, further, even if Mosul becomes a decisive victory, the grand expanse of their captured territory – which is larger than England – must be mopped up, and that could take years. Therefore, mopping up operations could take years even though the Syrian army is near the doorsteps of Aleppo and Raqaa, the center of their “Empire.”
Most recently, the “Caliphate” has spread from Iraq and Syria to all over the Islamic world. Like al-Qaeda before it, any “fundamentalist” Muslim group who have a gripe against their Islamic rulers, can take out a franchise of the “Islamic” State within their terrain by self-proclamation. Yet, they are no longer a guerrilla (terrorist) group but a “State.” Thus, in theory, to be part of a “Caliphate,” they would have to control a pseudo-country. Further, they would have to provide services to its citizens. At first, Abu Bakr al-Baghadi’s sham”-State” was well-run, and its governance was superior to the two nation-States it had partially super-succeeded. With degradation from the Allies, though, it has been reduced from the richest terrorist org to the poorest (failed) “State.”
Further, when one branch of the “State” finds itself separated from the heartland of the primary “State” (“the Caliphate –” such as the franchise in Libya – they would have to hook up with DAASH. This would necessitate the conquest of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and the two smaller nations in the Levant.
This presents the grievous concept of “Eternal War,” where the Coalition has the upper hand and the reaction of hate crimes against the Diaspora.
It must be remembered that it was pronouncements during the “Baby” Bush’s ascendency in America that led to this tragedy. Consequently, America has a moral duty to deliver these people from this horrendous tragedy!
The Observer’s targeted audience is American Muslims, and Islamic opinion must be presented before our policy-creators. (This is, also, true for those in democracies within the Coalition.) Those within the community know it best, and the voice (advice) of the ummah is badly need in the creation of policy, and are the most sensitive to it.
Your essayist final concern is Islamophobia, and how it can be prevented – such as the tragedy of the North Carolina students. Fortunately, we have a President who is doing his best to curtail this sort of reaction, but propaganda like the film, the ”Sniper” must be protested to Hollywood and to other prejudiced large opinion creators (i.e., the media).
The most positive thing is be proud to be a Muslim, and show the world you have a right to who you are, and that the really ugly things within the MENA lands are a fringe to Islam, and do not represents you!
*Dr. Geoffrey Cook, Ph.D is Non-Resident Scholar at Beirut Center For Middle East Studies. He is a historian, writer and artist. His primary academic interest is the British period in India. He has an advanced degree in South Asian studies, and was a student of the late George F. Dales at Berkeley, who introduced him to the ancient Indus. He also studied with art historians Joanna Williams and Guitty Azarpay; this section began as a paper for Prof. Azarpay at the University of California, Berkeley.Geoffrey Cook’s academic publications have appeared in From Sumer to Meluhha,Indo-British Review, International Journal of Indian Studies, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Hindu-Christian Studies Bulletin et al. He also has published several books of creative writing and translations.