The ISIL terrorists, misleadingly calling themselves the representatives of Muslims worldwide, have killed innumerable civilians, beheaded people of various nationalities and raped hundreds of innocent Muslim and non-Muslim girls, especially the Izadi women living in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Noted Muslim scholars, both Sunni and Shiite, and the majority of Muslim world leaders, have denounced the felonies of ISIL and made it clear that this faction doesn't have anything to do with Islam and its edicts.
In an interview with Fars News Agency, an Indian economist and author asserted that the ISIL terrorists belong to a Wahhabi lineage and are backed by the powers that propped up Wahhabi ideology since the Soviet war on Afghanistan.
“Since the 1980s, there has developed within the member states of NATO a cult of Wahhabi Jihadism, which has been celebrated ever since such individuals were armed, trained and funded by NATO powers to do battle against the USSR in Afghanistan,” said Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat, the editorial director of The Sunday Guardian newspaper.
“Textbooks inculcating hatred and a predisposition towards violence were designed in US universities to ensure that young minds globally turned towards Wahhabism. Since the 1980s, an estimated $380 billion has been expended by individuals, agencies and countries to build up the Wahhabi international,” he added.
Mr. Nalapat warns that a global coalition, including Iran, should be framed to roll back and eliminate ISIL, otherwise, this terrorist sect has a capacity to expand globally.
“Should a global coalition not get formed against ISIL and other components of the Wahhabi international, a coalition which includes Iran, will this evil spread within populations... The potential of ISIL to spread its cells across entire countries rises with each month that the organization continues to have a safe haven carved out of parts of Iraq and Syria,” he cautioned.
Prof. Madhav Nalapat is a recognized academician in India, and recently attended the International Congress on 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims in Tehran. Aside from his editorial role at The Sunday Guardian, Nalapat is currently the Vice-Chair of Manipal University’s Advanced Research Group. He has been a Professor of Geopolitics and UNESCO Peace Chair at the same university. His writings have appeared on The Pakistan Observer and Organizer. Prof. Nalapat is a distinguished fellow at the University of Georgia’s Center for International Trade and Security and comments on the Middle East and Indian subcontinent issues.
Prof. Nalapat shared his views with FNA on the roots of ISIL, its prompt growth in the recent months and the strategies that need to be adopted in dealing with it.
Q: ISIL terrorists, and their ideological mentors, claim to be representing Islam and continually make the assertion that their pseudo-government is an “Islamic Caliphate.” At the same time, all the major Muslim scholars, both Sunni and Shiite, and the majority of Muslim world politicians, have condemned ISIL, and called it a deviant current. Has the global public believed the mantra that ISIL is really an Islamic state? What could be done to preclude the reinforcement of this conviction that ISIL carries out actions that are sanctioned by Islam, including the beheading of Christians and raping the women?
A: Unfortunately, several individuals, especially in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have accepted the view that ISIL represents the “conqueror and fighting” phase of Islam, in which the Word of God got disseminated and accepted by vast territories and myriad peoples. Wahhabi thought explicitly posits that an equally sharp acceleration of dissemination of the faith i.e. Wahhabism is feasible, and ISIL is feeding on this thought and this desire. Money comes from those who have in their personal lives been dissolute and believe that they can escape hellfire in the afterlife by helping ISIL – a view intelligently spread by the protagonists of this terrible creed, while recruitment takes place among the young already exposed to Wahhabi ideology, who regard it as feasible to engineer a second “conqueror and fighting” phase of Islam. The only way to prevent this is to return to the true meaning of the Word of God and get accepted the fact that the core qualities of a believer are compassion, mercy and beneficence and not resort to violence and cruelty under any pretext. We must [first] separate the core qualities from the others seeking to ensure that these be universally accepted, excommunicate and not tolerate or pamper Wahhabis as being betrayers of the Word of God and [then] take strong action to eliminate any manifestations of this ideology, by military means wherever needed; otherwise, mere statements against ISIL will not prevent the ideology from spreading.
Q: The data and figures on the foreign fighters that have joined ISIL over the past 3 years are mind-boggling and unthinkable. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on January 29 that as many as 1,200 French citizens, 600 Britons, 250-300 Swedish nationals, 150 Austrians and more than 1,000 Germans have been fighting in the ranks of ISIL. Even the Australian government has reported that 100+ citizens of this Oceanic country have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight for the ISIL terrorists. Why have so many Westerners embarked on this risky journey of joining such a ruthless terrorist cult? Some commentators claim that they’re all immigrants and offspring of Muslim families in these countries. Is it really so?
A: A few are from the indigenous population but the overwhelming majority is from the immigrant population. Since the 1980s, there has developed within the member states of NATO a cult of Wahhabi Jihadism, which has been celebrated ever since such individuals were armed, trained and funded by NATO powers to do battle against the USSR in Afghanistan. Certainly the Soviet invasion needed to be reversed, but this job should have been left to Pashtun nationalists, who are religious moderates. Instead, such healthy elements in Afghan society were ignored in favor of Wahhabi fanatics, who were empowered to fight not only the USSR forces but also those Afghans who did not accept their toxic ideology. Textbooks inculcating hatred and a predisposition towards violence were designed in US universities to ensure that young minds globally turned towards Wahhabism. Since the 1980s, an estimated $380 billion has been expended by individuals, agencies and countries to build up the Wahhabi international. It should not therefore be a surprise that many of the youths coming from Muslim countries where this indoctrination took place are turning to ISIL, which is after all from the same ideological matrix as other Wahhabi extremist groups. The USSR having collapsed in 1991, this “demon” has been replaced by the entire non-Wahhabi population of the globe, all of whom are seen as “devils” by Wahhabi ideologists. Even a casual look at Wahhabi literature would demonstrate this fact, hence the need to criminalize Wahhabism worldwide and roll back the Wahhabi international network, including by removing Wahhabi literature from educational curricula.
Q: In one of your pieces, you wrote that 1936-37 was the period when the Nazis could have been overpowered and eliminated efficiently. But the world didn’t take appropriate action, the Nazis rose to prominence and exterminated thousands of people. As you wrote, today is the best time for forming a global coalition against ISIL and defeating it. However, again it seems the international community is not sufficiently determined to fight ISIL and that’s why they’ve been able to grow their power and become stronger. How do you see the whole picture?
A: The Wahhabi international has been active in throwing money at scholars and policy-makers within the NATO bloc, so that they repeat Wahhabi doctrines and seek to discredit those fighting this enemy of civilization. For more than a century, countries in Europe and later North America have assisted Wahhabis, first against the Turkish caliphate – which is why it is ironic that Turkey now has a Wahhabi as head of state, who is systematically destroying the Kemalist base of that country. Later, in the 1950s and the 1960s, they used Wahhabis to wage a “thought battle” against Arab nationalists such as Nasser, who were challenging former European colonial powers unlike Wahhabi establishments, who have always talked tough but acted in a slavish manner towards former colonial powers. In the 1980s, the creed was used to fuel the war against the USSR in Afghanistan. It was only after September 11, 2001 that the NATO bloc understood the danger posed by Wahhabism to themselves, a danger pointed out by me in 1987 and in 1992 in the US, at a period when the Clinton administration was funding and assisting Wahhabis worldwide, especially in Afghanistan.
Even after 9/11, the US and some of its partners focused not on eliminating Wahhabi terror groups in Afghanistan but in removing Saddam Hussein, an enemy of the Wahhabi-influenced [P]GCC regimes, in 2003. In 2011, they sided with the same regimes to remove Muammar Gaddafi from power and life in Libya and are now seeking to repeat that in Syria with President Bashar Assad.
Because of the well-funded influence of Wahhabi doctrines within strategic community in the key NATO allies, they regard the Wahhabi international as a far lesser threat than they do Iran. This is similar to those in France and the UK who saw Hitler under Germany as being a lesser threat than the USSR under Stalin. Such people caused the deaths of tens of millions of innocents because of such an error of perception, and these days, that same blinkered vision is causing the spread of ISIL. Hopefully, sense will dawn before it is too late and a global rather than a limited war against the Wahhabi menace becomes inevitable, in my view by around 2019. This is why I call this the “Rhineland Moment”, the period in 1936 when Hitler could have been humiliated by the French armies and sent off to prison, where his capacity for damage would be much reduced. Instead, he was allowed to once again get away with conquest in 1938 in Czechoslovakia, thereby making the 1939-45 war inevitable.
Should a global coalition not get formed against ISIL and other components of the Wahhabi international, a coalition which includes Iran, will this evil spread within populations. This will be an “atomized” war, in which small groups of individuals such as suicide bombers and suicide automatic weapons carriers create havoc through technology which ensures severe destruction at a relatively low cost, and will take place across the globe, including the heart of the US and Europe. Such a war could ultimately be as destructive to life and property as the conventional wars which took place in the past.
The potential of ISIL to spread its cells across entire countries rises with each month that the organization continues to have a safe haven carved out of parts of Iraq and Syria. My sense is that President Obama realizes this, but not yet his Secretary of State John Kerry, who has lately been seeking to assist ISIL by preventing Moscow from giving President Assad the military means to defeat its gangs, or the UK or French leadership. David Cameron was a principal architect of the Libya disaster, which is the seed from which ISIL has grown, and the man still seems oblivious of reality, living in a Lawrence of Arabia world.
Q: In a meeting at the European Council on Foreign Relations, the former NATO Secretary General and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana suggested that Iran is the only country capable of fighting the ISIL terrorists. There are many others who think likewise. If we accept this premise, then why doesn’t the United States ask for Iran’s help to address the concern of ISIL and eradicate it?
A: My view is that Barack Obama and possibly Angela Merkel understand this, which is why they prevailed over Hollande and others who sought to derail the nuclear agreement with Iran. Hopefully, the next President of the US will be a realist and not a fantasist in the mould of Dick Cheney.
Q: There are worrying reports of some Western and Arab governments still providing ISIL with financial and military aid, even though all of these governments have been trying to absolve themselves of the charge. The Guardian associate editor Seumas Milne has boldly claimed in an editorial that ISIL is a by-product of Western powers’ regional operations, and this sectarian terror group “won’t be defeated by the western states that incubated it in the first place”. Do you agree with this assertion? At any rate, is ISIL going to be beaten while it can sell massive amounts of oil and receive financial and arms assistance?
A: My view is that the US, UK and other NATO allies did not understand the damage which could get caused globally to themselves and to the rest of the world by the Wahhabi international, which is the ideological root of ISIL. Just as a combination of the US, the UK and the USSR defeated Germany in the 1939-45 war, the world needs NATO to ally with India, Iran, Russia and China to wipe out ISIL. Certainly it is correct that NATO cannot do it alone, but its involvement would be crucial in any anti-ISIL coalition.
However, time is running out. The embracing of Wahhabi-supporting regimes by NATO needs to end, and Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia need to be warned that any further assistance to ISIL through giving help to so-called “moderate” fighters who switch to extremist in the battlefield should end. The world is running out of time, as it did during the 1930s in Europe.
Q: A group of right-wing commentators and pundits, including Will McCants, being cited as an authority on ISIL and “militant Islam”, have been striving to forge connections between ISIL and the Islamic theology. They untruthfully claim that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is a descendant of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and is a pure Muslim trying to establish an Islamic state as part of his historic, religious mission. Does it sound feasible?
A: In the past as well, there have been multiple individuals calling Wahhabism the purest form of Islam when in fact it is the opposite. Why take such “experts” seriously? Better to try and deduce philosophical insights from monkeys chattering on treetops.