World powers must unite to fight terrorist ideology

The strategy of current warfare is fast shifting to drones, missiles and other guided projectiles.
Keywords: Russia, Terrorism, War, Attack, Conflict, Warfare, Strategy, Lethal, Weapon
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ISIS has claimed responsibility for the carnage at a concert by the Piknik rock band in the Crocus Theater near Moscow on the night of 22 March.  The death toll stands at 143. About 100 people were wounded. 

Moscow police have arrested 11 people including four suspected gunmen in connection with the shooting rampage and criminal arson there.

The question is whether ISIS’ claim is plausible. Its declared agenda is to attack the elements and targets that stand in the way of creating the Islamic Caliphate. 

ISIS proclaims a mission to “liberate the Muslim minorities in states with non-Muslims rule.” but so far there are no reports of ISIS activists being present in Russia. There are lots of Muslims in the Russian Federation but there were no serious reports that any group among them was capable of indulging in a carnage of massive dimensions as in Moscow. There was a time when some in Crimea were instigated by external Islamist activists like those from Turkey, but Moscow dealt with them effectively and their resistance or opposition was neutralised.

Ukraine has officially stated that it has no involvement whatsoever in the concert hall carnage. The common sense if Ukraine had a role, it would be too excited to make a public announcement and thereby boost the sagging morale of its troops fighting against the Russians on the front.  

The ISIS conducted a suicide attack recently in Kerman, the southern town of Iran. The ISIS said that since the fourth death anniversary of the Iranian al-Qods commander Qasim Suleimani was being observed in Kirman – his hometown – the ISIS wanted to remind the Iranian regime of Ayatollahs that their opposition to the Islamic Caliphate (of course, Sunni Islamic Caliphate) would not be tolerated. 

But no reason has been given by ISIS why it had decided to strike at Russia. Russia has never either criticised the Islamic terror or Islamic jihad. It has adopted Sphinx –like silence on that issue though, of course, it has, like China, mounted a strong vigil against any clandestine intrusion by the known Islamists into the Russian Federation territories.

ISIS –K has been launching sporadic attacks on Taliban assets arguing that Taliban, though a strict Islamist group, does not support the idea of the Islamic Caliphate. The Taliban have repeatedly said that they do not follow the policy of attacking any country, near or distant, unless they are attacked. 

Two Islamic countries, namely Pakistan and Turkey, are covertly supportive of ISIS and Iran though nurturing terror in its radicalised society keeps its terrorist proxies engaged in fighting against the Sunni and Jewish adversaries. It does not show any overt or covers support for the Islamic Caliphate concept. 

Incidentally, Moscow has lately developed close relations with Iran. In the recently concluded naval exercise in the Indian Ocean Region from 11 – 15 March, Iran had participated on the invitation of Moscow and deployed nearly ten naval ships in the drill. Islamabad also had straightened relations with Russia. Its precarious economic and political condition will not allow her to encourage any terrorist group against Russia. 

As far as China is concerned, although Beijing denies unleashing oppression against the freedom or autonomous movement of the Uyghur Sunni Muslim Turks of Xinjiang, yet it lends strong support to the Pakistan – based prominent terrorist organizations like LeT and JeM by obstructing their designation by the Security Council. Beijing knows that these Pakistan-based terrorist organizations are created by Pakistan for operations against the Indian army in Kashmir. As such, Beijing’s support to these terrorist organizations keeps Pakistan and also some Arab states in a happy mood and even they issue blank chit to Beijing’s claim of providing many facilities and security to the Uyghur.

It will be observed that both China and  Russia have been seen familiarising with the resurgent Islamic movement for the simple reason that they believe the Islamic resurgence movement is a blatant expression of a majority of Muslims of their antagonism against the US and sometimes also against her European allies. It is an effort of polarization of forces. To this complex situation, the Middle East war has added considerably to vitiate the atmosphere.

In this volatile situation and strategic re-alignments, President Putin has been cautioning the US and the NATO/Europe of World War III and the use of nuclear muscle. This is alarming. It needs to be remembered that during the premiership of Imran Khan, Pakistan also had got into the habit of threatening India with her “one kilogram and half a kilogram nuclear devices” – in the words of one of his ministers. 

We have also noted that the superpowers are working hard in their defence laboratories to invent more destructive and more lethal weapons meant to take the lives of larger and larger victims and in the shortest possible time. The strategy of current warfare is fast shifting to drones, missiles and other guided projectiles. Mediation offers are falling on flat ears and passion is rising for Armageddon.

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K N Pandita

K N Pandita has a PhD in Iranian Studies from the University of Teheran. He is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.

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