Perpetual ISIS ‘revolution’? Terror group ‘to expand to neighboring states’
RT:So Amman responded to the murder of its pilot by executing two convicted jihadists. Is the tit-for-tat killing of prisoners really going to achieve anything?
Firat Demir: Frankly, I don’t think it will achieve [much] in terms of what they [are] intending to do. This is not going to end Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). But we first have to start talking about what kind of organization ISIS is. It is a terrorist organization that uses real barbaric tactics not only to intimidate and scare people, but also as a recruitment tool.
These videos are circulating on the net, and it is increasing their recruitment, and it is not falling in terms of number of new people joining their ranks. What Jordan did... I really don’t see how else they could have responded given that it was one of their pilots who was executed in front of everybody.
But, in terms of short run versus the long run, we have to separate what creates Islamic State, what brings further support to it from all over the world – from Europe, from Asia, from the Middle East. Also, how to deal with it within the long run. We need to see that there is a power vacuum created in this region. Look at Iraq, look at Syria – these are all, right now, conflict states with no central authority.
The same [is the case] in Libya – after allied bombings – now it is split into three parts. I’m afraid we are just going to the tip of the iceberg here, that may further escalate and spread to other countries in the region. Turkey might be next ... if you look at surveys in the region there is significant support for IS and there is significant discontent regarding the policies that these countries are following, especially those that are authoritarian.
RT:Jordanian authorities have promised what they have called “an earth shattering response” to the killing of their pilot. What do you think that could be?
FD: I suspect that they will speed up the executions of existing or suspected IS militants in their jails. And they may increase their support for the allied force attacks. I doubt that they would include any ground forces to attack against Islamic State. I don’t think that they will unliterary do it without any support from Britain or the US. They may increase their support for existing grand forces such as the Kurds, that desperately need further help against IS. Otherwise, I don’t see any other serious response other than executing existing Islamic State militants.
RT:Jordan's facing a lot of protests within the country. People don’t want their government to participate in the airstrikes against Islamic State because they fear that they themselves could become targets. Is this a legitimate concern?
FD: I think it is a legitimate concern. But we have to understand that you really cannot rationalize or reason with these people. They are not going to sit down at a table and use diplomacy to negotiate and say: “Look, if you do this then they are not going to touch you.” That is not going to happen.
They [Islamic State] are not after any single nation state, they are expansionist. So in terms of their borders, there is a reason why they call themselves Islamic State – their ambitions are much bigger. The Royal Family in Jordan is already in an existing trap and vice versa. I don’t see how they can remain within the existing borders without escalating it further to the neighboring states, into Turkey, into Jordan… which they don’t see as Muslim states anyways. For them these are infidel regimes that are allied with the US. They don’t see them as any equals or as another fellow Muslim neighboring country. At this point they don’t have much choice. What else they can do?
RT:The United Arab Emirates has suspended participation in the airstrikes over a lack of contingency plans if pilots are captured. What do you make of that?
FD: That is a valid point. But with the current status quo, it is not going to stop anyways. If you look at Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who were supporting Islamic State initially. I don’t think they will continue that support because Islamic State poses a very serious existentialist threat to their own regimes. If you talk to these people and read their writings they don’t see these countries as Islamic or Muslim. For them even Saudi Arabia is not a truly Muslim country. So they are quite expansionist. They don’t want to stop their revolution within their current borders. This is a constant revolution for them.
Their members, which are coming from various countries, they will start going back at one point. And what kind of problems they will bring? Like the attacks in France and the Belgium arrests. This is not going to stop there. That is just a matter of time before these people re-enter their countries of origin and start blowing themselves up. What will happen if they start doing this in Istanbul, Ankara, or Riyadh? Who is going to stop [them]? So you need to stop this before it escalates and spreads further as a short-term measure. I’m not arguing that this is going to solve the problem. But that is the only way that they can respond to the IS expansion. It is not going to stop in Syria or Iraq. Their ambitions are much bigger than that.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.