Is ISIS a Regional or Global Threat?

Bahrain’s participation in talks on Saturday , hosted by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, on a GCC Strategy to combat regional security challenges is once again a display of this nation’s priorities in ensuring security.

Yemen’s political situation was the main topic of the GCC leaders’ talks at Al Auja Palace in Riyadh, in which Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister , His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, represented Bahrain.

Friday’s suicide attacks which killed 137 people at two mosques, in Yemen’s capital city Sana, were carried out by a a group that claims allegiance to ISIS.

But some intelligence experts say it is more likely the job of AQAP (Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula) which has the capability and intent.

But ISIS having followers in Yemen should not surprise any of us.

The chaos and the sectarian violence there, since the Houthis – who are supposedly backed by Iran – seized control of Yemen, must be a good breeding ground for this.

Our readers might recall what I had written a month ago (Crisis In Yemen: What Next?, 16 Feb 2015) – when Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whom UN still recognizes as President, was placed under house-arrest by the Houthis.

At that time, my feeling was that the escalating tension between the power grabbers and protesters gives no indication that the problem could be solved internally. External mediation by UN or by other International bodies is the need. And I still feel the same.

Last month, President Hadi escaped to Aden, where he declared a rival government. But clashes between people loyal to Hadi and those loyal to the Houthis have become regular.

In fact, three days ago, on Thursday, an unidentified warplane attacked the presidential compound in Aden. Hadi was unhurt.

But let us leave Yemen for a while and look at these allegiances to ISIS which many terror groups are now claiming.

Just this week, in Tunisia’s National Museum attacks, 21 people got killed, and the group that owned responsibility said they were a part of the Islamic State.

Two weeks ago, Nigeria’s Boko Haram said they swear allegiance to the Islamic caliphate under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, now known to his followers as Caliph Ibrahim.

A month ago, from Libya, a video of that gruesome killing of 21 Coptic Christians by Islamic State militants was released to a horrified world.

And, shockingly, just yesterday (22 March), ISIS called on their ‘brothers’ in the USA to kill 100 US military personnel listed on a ‘death list’ which they published online!

According to UK’s newspaper ‘Independent’, a self-styled “Islamic State Hacking Division”, claimed that they had hacked into a number of military servers and databases and retrieved huge amounts of information on US military officers.

And 100 names, with addresses and photos are now posted on a “death list”.

So, sadly, it is not just in Nigeria, Libya and Yemen, but in an estimated 50 countries, the followers of ISIS are apparently growing. Some Muslims are being instigated to attack non-Muslims. And some are asked to join the ranks of ISIS.

And unlike what was thought earlier, ISIS seems to have a clear strategy and we are seeing the emergence of many willing partners from around the world.

Without a doubt, a major reason for the growth of ISIS – which is called ‘Daesh’ in the Arab world – is the USA. It did not realize it was spawning a monster when it backed the rebels who opposed Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria.

Now, however, America bashing is not really going to help much. We know that US is the biggest military power on which the rest of world needs to rely on, if ISIS has to be defeated.

Unless the nations of the Middle East – especially, the Islamic ones – speak out more loudly against ISIS and its brutality, and unless they support the military campaigns against this terror mongering entity, the future can only get worse.

Unless the nations of the Middle East – and particularly the GCC countries – desist their young from being misled by ISIS’ twisted ideology, peace seems unlikely, in the near future.