This article is written in English to maximise its audience.
Throughout a series of articles written from the beginning of Operation “Protective Edge”, where Israel has been defending itself from Hamas attacks perpetrated against innocent civilians, we have stressed the need to focus on the Islamic Caliphate and the support it receives from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It is important to understand the origins of the Islamic State and what is intention is; in order to achieve this aim, it is necessary to understand the main actors in the constitution of the Islamic Caliphate and for this it is required to analyse first and foremost the figure of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
According to Kirdar (2011), Mr. Zarqawi was a Jordanian-born terrorist who engaged in criminal activity after the death of his father, when Mr. Zarqawi was 17-years old. As a result of this, the young Zarqawi got involved in drugs, alcohol and violence and he dropped out of high school. This cycle of violence and crime landed him in prison in the early eighties for drug possession and sexual assault and he remained imprisoned until an amnesty release in 1988. (http://csis.org/files/publication/110614_Kirdar_AlQaedaIraq_Web.pdf).
In 2000, Mr. Zarqawi received financial assistance from Al-Qaeda to create a belligerent group under the name of al-Tawid wal-Jihad (TWL) which received support to carry attacks in Afghanistan and in 2001 he moved the members of the terrorist cell from Afghanistan to Iran. Because of arrests in Europe in 2002, Western intelligence agencies became aware of Mr. Zarqawi’s presence in Iran, which forced him to leave and establish new smuggling routes in Syria. (Ibidem).
His high profile made Mr. Zarqawi keep on the run and in 2004 he coalesced with Al-Qaeda headquarters to establish a formal allegiance of an affiliate of Al-Qaeda headquarters in Iraq under the name Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). (Ibidem).
On June 2006, Mr. Zarqawi was killed by the Multinational Force (MNF) in Iraq, led by the United States, and as a result of this, he had been replaced by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who became the head of AQI. During that same summer, a group of Sunni Muslims who had grown discontent with the violent and despotic ways of AQI, formed the Sahwa (Awakening) and begun fighting AQI. As a result of the gradual loss of support that AQI experienced, on October 15th, 2006, the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) had been created with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi as its emir. On April 18, 2010, Mr. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was killed by the MNF and he was replaced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as head of the ISI, who still remains as the head of the state as of the time of this writing. (Ibidem).
According to Kirdar (2011) AQI played a significant role in the constitution of the ISI because of three aims it sought:
1. The promotion of Al-Qaeda propaganda with the way that the MNF, particularly the Americans, trampled on Muslim culture and values. Let it be clarified that the percentage of incidents pertaining to disrespect of the Moslem values was very small, but Al-Qaeda aggrandised it in order to shun on the MNF and to obtain support from the local populace.
2. Another end sought by AQI was the provision of harbour and haven to other terrorists: By taking over Iraq, AQI would be able to provide safe haven to wanted terrorists and to new recruits. The main problem here lied on the fact that many imams encouraged many Moslems to join the fight in Iraq and other countries where the MNF was fighting the terrorist organisations, this AQI had been able to achieve its goals until the Sahwa grew stronger and further defections of mujahideen in Iraq occurred, where the defectors joined the ranks of the incipient Iraqi security forces. The Abu Ghraib prison incident also played a key role in the enrolment of new terrorists.
3. AQI also sought to establish a common ground that encouraged marriages of convenience amongst otherwise hostile organisations. One example of his aim was achieved when Iran financed and armed AQI. About the intervention of Iran, in spite of the mortal hatred between AQI and Iran, Iran armed and financed AQI since it wanted to have AQI do the dirty work and then Iran would have gotten rid of the Americans and of AQI. (Ibidem).
I wanted to present this brief background to understand the complexity of the creation of the Islamic Caliphate and how in its origins Iran played a key role. Let us remember that the caliphate itself is a Sunni caliphate and that the hatred it displays towards Shiite Muslims is too evident to be hidden, yet, because of one of the aims of AQI, which had been to establish marriages of convenience, AQI was able to obtain support from Iran.
Recently Hezbollah announced the lowering of the fighting age for new recruits from 18 to 16 years of age, in order to send them to fight on the Syrian front, since the Islamic Caliphate has now taken 35% of Syria and a greater part of Iraq. (http://www.google.com/url?
The lowering of the age by Hezbollah goes to show that Iran’s strategy backfired and that the typical arrogance of the Iranians has betrayed them once again, on account of the fact that advancement of the Islamic Caliphate towards the East poses a threat not only to Syria and Iran’s key ally, Mr. Assad, but to Iran as well, since Iran is now struggling with economic sanctions that have weakened the economy and it cannot provide the necessary support to its proxy in Syria.
On the other hand, Russia is also struggling with a conflict in the Ukraine, on account of the expansionist desires of Mr. Putin; although the response from the United States and Europe has been lukewarm, the probability of further financial sanctions against members of Mr. Putin’s inner circle, mean that Russia will have less money available to protect its proxy in Syria and to keep on aiding Iran.
As it can be seen, the situation for Iran and Syria is critical and the United States has been careful not to fully intervene in the Iraqi struggle, except for the bombing of Islamic Caliphate terrorists to help the permershga (Kurd Security Forces) repel the terrorists who took over the Mosul dam.
The shift in balance has positioned Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in the defensive rather than the offensive, pushing them as far as having Hezbollah recruit children to fight in Syria; this evinces the existential threat to both Hezbollah and Iran who for years have performed terrorists acts in the Middle East and who seem to be now losing ground to a stronger and more powerful Sunni enemy.
But the situation does not end here. The Islamic Caliphate itself will not be satisfied with taking over Iran, Syria and Lebanon, since its aim is to expand over the world. On a letter written by Ayman al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi on October 12, 2005, Mr. al-Zawahiri instructed Mr. al-Zarqawi that the instatement of the Islamic Caliphate should be done in four stages:
1- The expelling of Americans from Iraq;
2- The establishment of an Islamic authority or emirate. Once this had gotten done, the emirate should be supported until it would achieve the level of a caliphate over as much territory as possible and taking advantage of Sunni areas, since the void that the MNF would leave, would need to be filled by the emirate;
3- The extension of the jihad wave to Iraq’s neighbouring countries. Notice how this was done by the uprisings of Sunnis in Syria and also in Egypt through Hamas in Gaza. The fact that the countries are not physically connected, did not in any way pose an obstacle to the jihadist movement which overtook Mr. Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and established Mr. Mohammad Morsi, a member of the Muslim brotherhood.
4- Lastly, the fourth stage encompasses a direct clash with Israel, because according to Mr. al-Zawahiri, Israel was established to go against the new Islamic entity. (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/203gpuul.asp?page=2).
If we set to analyse the way that Mr. al-Zawahiri laid out the plan of the establishment of the caliphate to Mr. al-Zarqawi, we can see its chilling accuracy. The Americans have in fact left Iraq and this cause the destabilisation of the government which was led by a despot Shiite, Mr. al-Maliki, who has clearly caused the greatest harm to Iraq and to the region.
As previously stated, on October 15, 2006, the Islamic State in Iraq had been established and it is now a caliphate, so it can clearly be seen that the second stage has been reached and the fact that it controls 35% of Syria and a greater part of Iraq, goes to show that the aim has been successful.
With regard to the third stage, the Arab spring has been successful and it has destabilised the region, especially Egypt until 2013, when Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood had been ousted from power. If one looks at the way that the Muslim Brotherhood was acting in Egypt, it is clearly evident that Mr. Morsi and his cadre were looking into establishing the same despotic ways as ISI in Iraq.
The fourth stage is now in progress and we can see the interlacing of all the facts by the fact that Hamas continues to attack Israel under the guise of self-defence, but if we analyse all the surrounding facts, we can see that Hamas, as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, of a Sunni denomination and financed by Hezbollah, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, is clearly acting in a concerted manner at the advice of the caliphate in Iraq and at the orders of Mr. al-Baghdadi and his cadre.
Unfortunately this might mean that there could be a prolonged war in the Middle East, on account of Mr. Obama’s blunder to have removed American troops from Iraqi soil, since that set into motion the plan that Mr. al-Zawahiri had designed in order to take over the Middle East.
As the situation advances in the Middle East, more and more lives are taken and thousands of innocent people are suffering at the hands of terrorists. Israel is being attacked because the caliph and the rest of terrorists know that by taking Israel, they will be able to take over Egypt also and over Iran.
The fact that Iran falls to the caliphate should be of no concern, except for the fact that it would mean that the caliphate itself would be too strong and too powerful, but Iran deserves what is getting because Iran financed AQI and it is now reaping what it sowed.
The West needs to pay special attention to the way the Caliphate is advancing and take advantage of this opportunity to eliminate the caliphate, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Mr. Khamenei in Iran, Mr. Assad in Syria and Hamas in Gaza. The rest of the world needs to understand that what the Islamic Caliphate is doing in the Middle East would eventually have consequences all over the world.
In an interview by VICE news during a documentary about the Islamic Caliphate, one of the terrorists warned that the militias will take over Europe and the UnIted States and that they would rape and take the “beautiful women” and kill the men. If History has taught us any lesson, we should take these warnings seriously, after all, nine years after the letter to Mr. al-Zarqawi had been written, the four-stage plan devised by Mr. al-Zawahiri is coming to fruition. If we are to remain free and prosperous, we need to get ready to support Israel and fight alongside them so that freedom and peace may be restored in the Middle East.