The Islamic State (IS) phenomenon was a cumulative outcome of several catalysts involving all actors within the region. The tally of deaths amongst Iraqis in the last two decades starting from the containment policy of Bill Clinton to the invasion of 2003 contributed vastly to the rise of extremism in the country. The failure of the Arab Spring and democratic transitions in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen for different reasons has contributed to spreading despair and extremism within the region.
The spread of extremist Islamic literature in the region has further encouraged fanatic discourse. The Middle East and North Africa Region has one of the most fragile political, social, economic and environmental structures, with a lack of people centred development policies and high unemployment.
The Shi’a – Sunni war led by Iran and the Arab States in the region in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen has led to the whole region to become a volatile battleground for the two sects. The failure of the Middle East Peace process negotiations last year and the rejection of the Israeli Prime Minister to address the potential creation of a Palestinian State has definitely weakened the pro-peace and negotiations voices within the Arab world and strengthened the pro-violence and retaliation voices.
The fact that these catalysts have led to the rise of the IS phenomenon are so complex and interlinked, they cannot be eliminated in short and medium terms. The current intervention policy seems to focus on limiting the damage of expanding the IS territory into other areas in Iraq, Syria and other countries. How successful has it been?
One year after the taking over of Mosul in June 2014 and the launch of the campaign to defeat it, IS has grown stronger despite all campaigns to limit its expansion and to coerce any sympathy with the terrorist organisation. In the last 12 month, IS has taken more territory in Iraq by expanding to Ramadi, 100 km of the Capital Baghdad. It has created a controlled territory in Libya and Egypt from which it launched drastic attacks in the two countries. Moreover, IS was able to launch terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Nigeria, Canada and France.
IS has created a home ( territory) for people who, in the last 2 decades, through this discourse ofmass killings, violence, discrimination, humiliation and radicalisation have lost all human valuesof tolerance, reconciliationand coexistence and are in the hunt of revenge of other people from other sects, other religions, other ideologies, other ethnicities, other races, other regions.