08 December 2015
Despite globally purveying Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia is increasingly concerned that it could be identified with extremist groups like Islamic State. Saudi officials and pundits point to the kingdom’s efficient counterterrorism measures as well as gradual changes in the country. Ideological confrontation of IS philosophy alone is unlikely to eradicate the threat. Tackling the root causes of the appeal of jihadism will.
As the threat from Islamic State (also known as IS or ISIS or by its Arabic acronym of Daesh) continued to grow, US-led coalition forces intensified their aerial attacks on IS militants and strategic installations in Syria and Iraq, in a concerted effort to destroy and degrade the self-styled caliphate. However, far from caving in, IS has expanded its territorial reach by moving across the Mediterranean Sea into Libya’s coastal region, the Sahel and West Africa.
Some scholars argue that the ability of IS to attract foreign fighters as well as idealistic Muslims from across the globe willing to become cannon fodder in suicide missions at home, make it a lethal force and very dangerous to any government willing to confront it. These analysts say that the militants’ ideology has been fuelled by the austere and puritanical interpretation of Islam by Saudi Arabia, a country which has significantly advanced Salafi-Wahhabi beliefs (a return to Islam as espoused by the first three generations of Muslims who are collectively known as the salaf).
… James M Dorsey is a Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, and Co-Director of the Institute of Wurzburg, Germany. Mushahid Ali is a Senior Fellow in RSIS.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 10/12/2015