Geopolitical notes from India
M D Nalapat
A year after chasing the Nobel Peace Prize by opening the door to migration by refugees from North Africa, West Asia, Afghanistan and other countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her liberal policy would change. Results in Berlin, Germany’s most liberal and multicultural city, shocked the Christian Democratic Union leader, who is looking to voters for a fourth term in office next year, after already serving over a decade as Chancellor of Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Her chances for such a victory are nil, and this is due to a combination of anti-incumbency sentiments and anger in German society at Markel’s snap decision to allow more than a million refugees to settle in Germany.
Unless the German authorities wish to go the way of France, where the Muslim minority feels shirt-changed and has become ghettoised, huge financial outlays are needed to ensure that refugee families gain access to health care, education, housing and employment, so that they can become productive citizens. This will take years, perhaps a decade, and in meantime, there will be pressure to admit close family members of those already resident in Germany.
This could swell the number by another 600,000 over the next five years. In addition, Europe is likely to witness another flood of refugees during 2017-2019 of at least two million more desperate individuals from Syria, Libya and other locations hit by wars in which NATO is involved, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Because of the confused policies of NATO with regard to fighting Daesh ad its ideological cousins, conflicts in Libya and Syria are in danger of morphing to a stage that will take decades to evolve into normalcy. The secret services of NATO powers seem clueless about exactly who are and who are not dangerous to the alliance in the medley of armed fighters in West Asian war zones.
Ironically, almost all the weaponry, training and cash deployed by such fighters have come from NATO or its regional allies. Indeed, Daesh became a potent force only after senior officers in the Iraqi military deserted their posts and ordered the troops under them to cease fighting so that Daesh could capture Mosul and other large cities in Iraq in 2014. Thus far, none of compromised officers has been proceeded against, even when many have relocated to US, UK so as to live well off bribes they were paid to hand over large portions of their country to Daesh.
This columnist was probably the earliest to warn that Daesh was more toxic than Al-Qaeda, because of the fact that its form of operations is atomised, comprising not mainly of big formations in the field but individuals acting by themselves or in cells of a handful of motivated recruits to the terror network. The level of theological knowledge needed to become a part of Daesh is near zero, as the organisation functions on the Nazi principle that cruelty is the highest form of morality, thereby drawing into its fold those with psychopathic tendencies. Such individuals are enabled to act out their fantasies through becoming part of the Daesh network, which has a minimal level of communications, confining itself to mass messaging designed to ensure that those susceptible to is siren call read the message in a way that prompts them into violent actions, such as those attempted by an IS acolyte days ago in New York and New Jersey. NATO is placing its security at risk by refusing to accept the need to work alongside those who are in fact fighting Daesh rather than those who are resending to while in fact providing temporary sheller to the fighters of this lethal force.
The anti-Daesh coalition is fractured, with Secretary of Stste John Kerry now fully getting “Clintonized” (perhaps in the expectation that he will retain his job after Hillary Clinton’s presumed victory in the November 8 US Presidental elections). Kerry is more focussed on somehow ending Bashar Assad’s rule in Damascus than he is in finishing off ISIS (Daesh), and this fracture of the anti-ISIS forces is visible in every key battlefield, to the benefit of the most dangerous terror machine that world has seen since rise of Adolf Hitler. Should hold of Daesh in Iraq and Syria not get broken within next nine or so months, atomisation of terror will reach a level such that Newark-style attacks will become routine in EU and US within 2017.
Because of the ease with which copycat attacks can get planned and carried out, it is vital that IS (Daesh) be shown to be broken within the next few months, before fresh trances of copycats get formed. However, the confused and self-defeating policy followed by Barack Obama under the influence of the Europeanist Clintonites who dominate “his” administration, as well as the still more self-defeating policies followed by France and the UK, are ensuring that the organisation survives to fight on, even to the extent of retaining some territory. It is Hillary Clinton and not Donald John Trump whose declared policies favour the consolidation and growth of IS (Daesh), but that message has been lost in the cacophony created by “terrorism experts” anxious to continue covering up their past errors by repeating failed analyses and nostrums.
What is needed to defeat Daesh in the diminishing time window available before the virus mutates to a more virulent and infective strain is to unite all those opposed to IS and ensure coordinated attacks on the organisation and its sympathisers. What those still mumbling about the “Russian threat to Europe” or “the imperative of removing Bashar Assad from power” fail to understand is that it is only a matter of time before the mindspace virus that is represented by Daesh changes to a form that becomes attractive to elements of general populations within the Atlantic Alliance.
Just as Nazism grew to encompass tens of millions of Germans, the frenzy and bloodlust that is at the core of the ideology of Daesh is potentially addictive to tens of millions in the US, the EU and other locations who feel left behind by the rapidity of change in the 21st century. IS needs to be eliminated now from Raqqa and Mosul, but that needs a unity of purpose between the US, China, the EU,Iran and Russia that appears distant if not impossible at present. The world is sliding into a slow motion horror that in the totality of its consequences will prove as destructive of human life as Adolf Hitler’s legacy of death was in the previous century.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.