Across the Arab world, the Arab Spring filled the people with hope.
Those dreams have not been met, instead they were met by brutal repression.
The rise of Isis has been a response to that repression.
in Iraq, the country was destroyed by war criminals George W Bush and Tony Blair. Iran financed Shia death squads targeted Sunnis. Any person who had been a member of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party was summarily dismissed from their job, denied public-sector employment, and barred from accessing their pensions.
As with membership of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union Ba’ath Party membership was a requirement any state job, so the policy led to the mass dismissal of thousands of teachers, doctors, police, and low-ranking civil servants. By destroying the mechanics of the state in this way, the United States virtually guaranteed the collapse of the state — a catastrophic prospect for a society emerging from over two decades of sanctions and war.
Out of the marginalisation of Sunnis rose Isis. When you have nothing, you turn to violence
Abu Ghraib detention facility, which exploded into Western consciousness in 2003 following the release of photographs showing US military personnel torturing prisoners. In the wake of this scandal, many detainees were transferred out of Abu Ghraib to another prison, Camp Bucca. It was here that one detainee, later known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, came to establish a strong relationship with a coterie of former Ba’athist military officers who had spent time in Abu Ghraib.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of Isis, and those same Ba’athist officers now serve as his closest deputies and advisers.
In Syria, seven years of drought forced people off the land and into the cities. Protest followed, repression followed protest. Out of the repression rose Isis.
In his speech calling for bombs to be dropped on Syria, a speech that was low on substance and high on waffle, Hilary Benn spoke of idealistic young men going to fight Franco in Spain. In the same vein, idealised young Muslims go to Syria to join Isis. They are self-radicalised. If they cannot join Isis they will carry out their terrorist attacks at home. Isis is recruiting in Muslim enclaves. Support for Isis is not restricted to a tiny minority.
In Syria there are competing groups, they hate Assad, hate Isis, hate each other and hate the West,
Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of his own people, millions have been displaced. Any call to accommodate Assad must be rejected. It would be a betrayal of Syrian people to reach any accommodation with him. It would also be to ignore he was the cause of the rise of Isis in Syria.
Isis offers a purity of revolution, pure in the sense of its fanaticism that it is to return to a pure form of Islam.
Isis controls significant territory, a de facto state that straddles Iraq and Syria, that is if state has any meaning, in what is essentially stateless region, populated by warring factions.
Taliban in Afghanistan rejected technology (unless it was a weapon) Isis on the other hand embraces technology, makes extensive use of internet and social media. On the one hand, they may not wish to talk to the outside world, on the other hand that make extensive effort to communicate with the outside world.
Brutality spreads fear. When Isis took Mosul, the Iraqi Army melted away, leaving their weapons behind.
To its supporters Isis projects a Muslim Utopia. water flows, electricity flows, bread gets baked, grapes grow, the people are fed.
Isis functions as a state. A fighter, for example, is estimated to be paid around $300 to $400 per month, more than double that provided by the Iraqi army.
Isis controls core infrastructure, oil fields, electricity and water.
For an insurgency, Isis is wealthy. Oil revenue, taxes, extortion, people trafficking, kidnapping. It is self-funding and not reliant upon external funding from Gulf States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Hilary Benn talked of the International Brigade going off to fight Isis. That is the role fundamentalists see themselves in when they go off to fight with Isis.
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