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The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) has lost its territory in Syria and Iraq, but it is still dangerous. It was an issue addressed at the Munich Security Conference.
Only three years have passed since the self-proclaimed Caliph al-Baghdadi proclaimed the so-called Islamic State from the mosque in the newly conquered city of Mosul. After bloody fighting, the terrorist militia has been completely expelled from Iraq. And even in Syria, after the loss of its capital, Al Raqa, there are only a few remnants of IS. About 40,000 people fought in their day in their ranks; now there are only about 3,000 that hide in the desert or that look for new fields of activity.
As a project of a state entity, the terrorist militia has been defeated. But the IS survives – although weakened – in its propagandistic aspect in the hearts of its obtuse followers, as a dream of a Salafist utopia. Only from Western Europe, more than 5000 people traveled to the “Caliphate”. In addition, the old rival Al Qaeda could now feel encouraged to launch new attacks. This is the concern of Dan Coats, director of the US intelligence services, formulated at the Munich Security Conference. Last Tuesday, the report on global threats (Global Threat Assessment) was published in the United States. In that report, “violent Sunni extremists,” especially ISIS and al Qaeda, are identified as the greatest terrorist threat to security.
At the Munich Security Conference there was unanimity that the fight against jihadism is far from over.
Foreign fighters seek new areas of action
Several African leaders, the president of the World Bank and the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change noted in the panel “How to make the Sahel area safe” the link between development, climate change and security. The lack of opportunities, inefficient governments and lack of education create the breeding ground for terrorism. The president of the African Union, Moussa Faki, illustrated the danger of lack of knowledge through the story of a woman from the Lake Chad area, who wanted to blow herself up as a suicide bomber: she had been told that in paradise she could choose to her husband. The Foreign Minister of Tunisia says that in his country many join terrorist groups for economic reasons. The IS was able to pay good wages for a long time. It is feared that many of the foreigners who fought in their ranks could go, for example, to Nigeria and now join Boko Haram. According to Babagana Monguno, national security adviser to the Nigerian president, new dependencies of the IS have been formed in at least nine African states.
For his part, Pakistani army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa reported that former IS fighters are also meeting in neighboring Afghanistan. According to him, there are already 20 active terrorist militias there. Bajwa was fed up with Pakistan being repeatedly accused, especially by the United States, of not doing enough in the fight against terrorism. Angry, he recalled that Islamic terrorism was a creation of the West. Almost 40 years ago, the United States recruited young people to fight against the Soviet Union. When they fulfilled their purpose, they were left to their own devices.