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Millennium Post

Terror’s mitosis, world’s nemesis

It seems global terror outfits are all set to outcompete each other creating videos more fear-instilling and spine-chilling than the other. While ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) is carrying out grisly executions – beheading American and British journalists – and filming the unfathomably barbaric incidents, Al-Qaeda, ostensibly threatened by the expansionist mindset of its once-subgroup in Syria, has promised to widen its South Asian base.

Current Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a 55-minute televised speech, has announced the formation of an Indian branch, Qaedat-al-Jihad, in a bid to up the ante as far as transnational militancy is concerned. Targeting the already riot-prone, off-balance regions in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Assam, Gujarat and Kashmir, among other off-the-tilt zones prone to communal conflict, al-Zawahiri’s message is a brutal reminder that India has much to fear from the growing might of fast duplicating international terror outfits. But more than anything else, it is a precursor to possible crimes against humanity carried out in the name of a particularly virulent brand of Islamism, with antecedents in Saudi Wahabism and other ideals with roots in medieval crusades. Hence, al-Zawahiri’s call to arms and his appeal to vulnerable, ill-educated, poor and disaffected young Muslim males all across the world are pointers to how fien de siècle fundamentalism has made a spectacular and far more dangerous come back.

While Al-Qaeda has been operational in Af-Pak region, even after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011 by US Navy Seals, ISIS is a more recent phenomenon. Breaking away from its parent organisation under the stewardship of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria (who, according to political grapevine, was trained by Israel’s secret service, only to go astray), ISIS’ vision of an Islamic Caliphate has the same grand watermark of Bin Laden’s declaration of war against the infidels. So far having concentrated on the far enemy in the United States and its European lackey in United Kingdom, Al-Qaeda has been evidently outplayed by ISIS’ penchant for the utterly theatrical and eyeball-grabbing tactics of extreme and dazzling violence.

The mass executions of Shia’s and soldiers in Iraq, the hacking to death of Western scribes and the video declarations all point towards a technosavvy, new uber antagonist that wants the world to really fear it. Beyond its imperial ambition of conquest, what is it that ISIS wants and how is it different from what Al-Qaeda has on its mind? Obviously, with terror groups proliferating like weed in a stagnant pond, it is imperative for the world powers to join their security might and combat this global menace. Now is not the time to play off one rival country against the other in West or South Asia by backing rebels with history of religious militancy. Unless a concerted attempt to counter this many-headed hydra is orchestrated by nations of the world, it will be difficult to stop this surging tide.                         

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