The passage of human history into the 21st century was marked by the active and direct involvement of international terrorist organizations and by the fast growth of their role in universal political processes. Various terrorist groups that adopted extremely Islamic ideas have become very active actors since the 2000s conditioning geopolitical processes taking place in the Islamic world especially in the Near East and largely defining their course and consequences. During years international terrorist movement began to take a fresh impetus and turned into a threat which presents too much danger for modern human society. On November 13, 2015 right in the heart of Europe, the capital of France, Paris, a number of terrorist acts were committed by the extremist terrorist Islamic State group, which resulted in 130 victims and hundreds of injured. On March 22, this year, in the capital of Belgium and EU, Brussels, disguised suicide bombers of the IS committed acts of terrorism which caused 32 victims and more than 300 civilians were injured. The object of the present analysis is to show the direction and scope of modern terrorist movement in the form of the Islamic State, reveal the causes and objectives of its formation and threats called by it in the context of the policy conducted by the West.
The expansion of terrorist movement
The development and reinforcement to such an extent of this as well as the other Islamic terrorist groups (Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah) which have become an evil for the world, is directly connected with the foreign policy aimed at veiled serving of certain regional problems in the context of geopolitical interests of western powers particularly of the USA in the Near East appearing as immediate but not so target-oriented consequence of the latter. Thus, in 2003 the US invasion into Iraq in order to bring radical changes in the state-political system, democratize it and for that purpose establish democratic institute, created preconditions for formation of radical sunniest groups as is the Islamic State today. The Saddam Hussein ruling regime which was until recently backed by the US during the war against Iran and which represented sunniest minority was toppled and a system of governance with Shiite majority was formed. These entailed destructive consequences: overall unemployment in sunniest circles, close of existing industrial companies in the spirit of exclusion and elimination of socialism because free market originated in the West, based on progressive norms and principles and alien enough to eastern societies will effectively and easily create places of work and other preconditions necessary for normal social functioning. By the efforts of the US-backed Shiite leadership sunniest working class lost their jobs, other privileges and, in essence, all political power. In order to bring into life real democratization of the country the American policy instead of fostering religious integration and unanimity consciously or not so much went through the path of religious and as a result, through the path of political fragmentation. This contributed not only to mitigation and restriction of Sunnis but also to the reinforcement of radical Sunni Islam and particularly to the strengthening and expansion of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In October, 2004 modern Islamic State group which then bore the name the Organization of Monotheism and Jihad, joined Al-Qaeda. Is it possible that democratic West, particularly the USA, was unable to suspend and eradicate the IS just in the first stage of its development and expansion and eliminate spontaneously emerging threat of terrorism through the mobilization of common powers and resources? Is it possible that western strategists that are universal policy-makers were really unaware of quite not fantastic perspectives of further strengthening and entrenchment of the emerging terrorist group? These are, perhaps, continuously asked questions which never lose their modernity and importance. They deeply predetermine political processes which are general and different in their nature.
Migration as a consequential process
The interventions of western powers and as a result the reinforcement and spread of terrorist movement in a number of Arabic countries(Iraq, Libya, Syria) led not only to the weakening and destruction of said states but also to the spontaneous migration of local population. According to the statistics of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in March, 2016, more than 4.8 mln refugees left the Syrian Arab Republic because of the civil war, which started in 2011. More than 2 mln of them sought asylum in various European states (Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, etc.). Furthermore, around 13.5 mln civilians, which found themselves in hard social conditions, need a great help and around 6.6 mln Syrians have been displaced and evicted in the territory of Syria. During the recent 5 years only from Syria more than 2 mln refugees have immigrated to Europe. The affects of the intensive migration influx are significant especially in Greece which is in a very hard economic situation. It has accepted more than a half million refugees and their influx continues yet. Such number of refugees has emigrated from Syria only recently and if we take into consideration the big emigration of population from other Arabic countries: Iraq, Libya and other places, we can prove that islamists have become a serious threat to Europe and European civilization as a whole. Under the pressure of the constant influx of migrants and the consequences caused by it European states went through the path of cooperation with Turkey concluding a special agreement with the latter on 18th March, according to which since 20th March the illegal migrants moving from Turkey to the territory of Greece will be sent back to Turkey and, interchangeably, the EU takes the responsibility to accept so many legal Syrian refugees as will be sent back to Turkey. To stop the influx of Syrian refugees to Greece and keep them in the territory of Turkey EU takes the responsibility to pay about 3 billion Euros to Turkey for the upcoming two years, which the Turkish side deems insufficient to resolve the problem of migrants. In November of the previous year President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the meeting with the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker held in Turkey, said: “We can open the border with Greece and Bulgaria at any time and seat the refugees on buses. What are you going to do with refugees, if the agreement is not signed? Are you going to shoot them?” Days after, on November 29, Brussels and Ankara, however, reached an agreement by the conclusion of a treaty over the controversial issue of providing 3 billion Euros. The complaints about insufficiency of money, which will be lent, and the presentation of exaggerated demands, the hard-line and dictating position of Turkish side over the amount of money a short time after the Erdogan’s aforementioned statement obviously speak about the serious problems brought by the influx of refugees and prospective threats conditioned by them for the European states. The conclusion of the agreement somewhat allowed Turkey to act freely because of the existing dependence of EU upon Turkey connected with the migration problem, and in the sphere of foreign policy European states, at the essence, no longer have previous opportunities and influence to exert pressure on Turkey.
Expressing big claims in the region the same Turkey which is greatly interested in debilitation of neighbouring Syria has had and continues to have a predominant role in supporting and sponsoring this terrorist structure which appears as too strong military-political power. The pursuit to enlarge the influence of Turkey in the country may, by and large, be conditioned by Kurdish factor which presents a great threat to the latter: trying to extend its influence in the northern part of Syria, which is predominantly populated by Kurds, Turkey seeks to somewhat take under its control the Syrian Kurds as well in order to exclude the perspective of unification of Kurds living in Turkey and Syria and curb Kurds secessionist threat, the manifestation of which is the struggle against Assad. Western powers are largely interested and involved in this struggle as the governance of pro Russian President of Syria, Bashar Assad, created prospects for entrenchment and expansion of Russian influence both there and in the region. Taking into consideration named circumstances it is possible to outline the correspondence between the geopolitical interests of the USA and Turkey in this region in the view of the fact that they are members of the same powerful geopolitical alliance, NATO, and respectfully take mutually agreed steps over many geopolitical issues.
The threat of the Islamic State
Putting aside the impact of the near eastern policy of the West on the regional political processes and reorganization of forces it is necessary to emphasize and evaluate its consequences right in Europe. This structure, which is extremely terroristic in nature, has already become out of regulation and control for everyone which may be explained by two factors, military-financial and religious-political. The first factor is that at present the significant portion of oil resources of Syria and Iraq has appeared under the control of the IS. Daily product of only two oil-remanufacturing enterprises of Mosul is 16000 barrel oil, the major buyer of which is Turkey. Produced oil is transported by smugglers (the name of Turkish president’s son, Bilal Erdogan is circulated in smuggling trade) from the contact line through the territory of Turkey to Ceyhan port, which is under surveillance of Turkish government, from here it is transported by ships to Malta and from here into several destinations including Ashdod. In estimation by the American professional on financial sphere Daniel Glaser IS gets profit of around 500 mln dollars from the sale of huge amount of oil. This calculation is based on the fact that in 2015, during a month the profit from oil sale was about 40 mln dollars. Besides, 45% of Syrian gas resources is under the control of islamists. The possession of such huge amount of resources and thanks to it the accumulation of financial means give the terrorists too much power and, by this, the opportunity to act independently and provide the military-technical arsenal of the group via numerous financial resources, which simply liberates the hands of the Islamic State. In view of religious-political factor the issue has deeper and ideological manifestation as the Islamic State, proclaiming and being guided by extremely Islamic ideas, soon or later, must have formulated religious-political doctrine such as caliphate based on religious fanaticism and Islamic ideas which in fact leads to the manifestation of geopolitical claims. But the West and especially Europe greatly failed in their considerations not taking necessarily into account the other side of their policy-that is, its negative consequences right for them. Even they, western leaders, speak about the failures of their foreign policy. In an interview given to Fox News the US President Barak Obama noticed that the worst mistake during his presidency was the invasion to Libya and the toppling of ruling regime of Muammar Gaddafi because this didn’t lead to democratization of the country nor the establishment of such institutes and the country appeared in widespread chaos and under the threat from extremists. Furthermore, in March Obama sharply criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron and former French President Nikolas Sarkozy for having a significant role in bombardments in Libya committed by western coalition.
It is possible to imagine from the number of refugees in Europe and from predictable rates of their demographical growth what kind of serious demographical and other problems the European society will face after decades. Muslims settled in European countries can plunge the European society into grave demographical crisis as the natural growth rate of Europeans and that of their own are incompatible. Most of European states record zero or in some cases negative natural growth rate: in the population age structure the number of older persons is increasing and the European population with sustainable steps is growing old. Diametrically, the opposite process takes place in Muslim circles. In essence, their natural growth rates will be higher in Europe as there are incomparably much favourable socio-economic conditions for living than in their own countries. In case of continuation of such rates decades after in the whole world the following question will emerge: Is Europe a European or Muslim civilization today? As a result of the attempts to democratize the traditional Arabic societies Europe fills with millions of young and Islam follower migrants that despite the aging European society are more enduring and combat-capable and also present strong power. After some decades the Europeans will just not be able to face the continuously increasing Muslim masses which can put an end to the existence of the European civilization.
Prominent American politician Samuel Huntington in his article “The Clash of Civilizations” writes that in the post-Cold war world conflicts will not be conditioned by ideologies and various economic issues. The major part of borders that separate humanity and serve as foothold for conflicts will be conditioned by cultural characteristics. Nation-state will remain the main subject in universal political processes, but in international politics conflicts will emerge between nations and such groups which belong to different civilizations. Though in international affairs the correlations between states are predominantly conditioned by geopolitical interests, however, national-ethnic, socio-cultural differences and characteristics as well as processes caused by them are able to transform the existing political subjects in international arena. By observing the problem in the point of view of demographical factor it is possible to conclude that the significant growth of Muslims’ number and their sustainable position in the structure of population can lead to the emergence of ethno-cultural changes in named societies and by these to the notable increase of their influence and key role in internal and external relations of European countries. Just in this context the clash between Christian-Islamic civilizations is becoming more realistic by all its unpredictable consequences.
Author: Hayk Sahakyan. © All rights are reserved.
Translator: Sona Aramyan.