08 December 2015
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).
German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, in a rare attack by a Western official, accused Saudi Arabia recently of financing extremist mosques and communities in the West that constitute a security risk and warned that it must stop. “We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,” Gabriel said in a German newspaper interview. “Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany,” he said.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, a syndicated columnist, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and a forthcoming book with the same title. Mushahid Ali is a Senior Fellow in RSIS.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 09/12/2015