Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, December 16th, 2018

ISIL – A Stain on Human History

The warped mind and cruel practices of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were revealed to the world. The ISIL militants, both ideologues and mercenaries, played a highly destructive role in the Middle East and left a large number of casualties and great debris behind. Their inhuman practices will fill one with strong sense of hatred and disgust.
The ISIL group, which is believed to practice upon the Salafi school of thought, had no mercy to men, women or children. ISIL militants sought to shed as much blood as possible and rape as many girls and women as possible, which are the flagrant violation of rights and dignity. In other words, although human rights and dignity are deemed inherent, inviolable, and inalienable in international instruments, they were trampled upon in the worst possible way by militant fighters and religious fundamentalists, especially ISIL. Moreover, human rights and dignity are also inviolable on the basis of religious tenets and moral code, neither of which is respected by militants.
According to reports, as pro-government troops drove ISIL fighters from a central Syrian town over the last weekend, the retreating militants killed scores of civilians, dumping some bodies into wells and leaving others in the street. The apparent mass killing is the latest example of the brutal reprisals that have taken place when territory changes hands in Syria’s multisided war, with civilians often bearing the brunt of the pain. The carnage showed how the ISIL can still spread havoc even as it loses major parts of its territory that once included large areas of Syria and Iraq.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said that as many as 128 civilians had been killed in Qaryatayn in the past several weeks before the ISIL fighters retreated.
The ISIL grew out of an insurgency in Iraq and was affiliated with Al Qaeda until 2014. The militant group shocked the world in June 2014 as it seized control of more than 50 places, including Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. Over three years, the group achieved military dominance in critical places in almost every province in Syria and across northern and central Iraq. But in 2017, the ISIL’s losses drastically accelerated, and the militants are now returning to their insurgent roots.
The ISIL carved out a sprawling territory across Iraq and Syria through military dominance over 127 important places. The group governed the residents of dozens of cities and towns, and it benefited from their taxes. The militants also had control over strategic locations, like military bases and border crossings, as well as economic assets, like oil fields and dams.
Almost two weeks ago, United States-backed forces pushed the ISIL group out of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, dealing a heavy blow to the militants. The offensive began in June and left widespread destruction, displacing about 270,000 residents. United States-led coalition airstrikes there were “reportedly killing hundreds of trapped civilians every month”.
In July of this year, the Iraqi government announced that it had finally retaken control of Mosul after three years of ISIL rule and a brutal nine-month battle. Mosul held huge symbolic value for the group. It was there, in June of 2014, that al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate after his fighters took control of Mosul and swept through other parts of northern Iraq and Syria, seizing dozens of cities.
The ISIL’s remaining strongholds in Iraq fell quickly after Mosul was retaken. Tal Afar, near Mosul, was captured by Iraqi forces in an offensive that lasted just 11 days. And this month, the militants barely put up a fight in Hawija.
Despite these dramatic losses, analysts say that ISIL is not defeated. An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 militants remain in Iraq and Syria. The ISIL group has been shifting tactics and returning to its insurgent roots. Some analysts believe that the group will continue to have some local support and the ability to lodge attacks throughout the region.
ISIL militants are a potential threat to Iraq and Syria and will carry out terrorist attacks in public places. However, they will not be able to re-organize systematic attacks against the two countries. After all, the ISIL loyalists emerged in Afghanistan and Pakistan before its defeat. Hence, they dreamt of gaining foothold destabilized countries and extend their influence. But their dream will not come true as the ISIL network was dismantled.

To sum up, the ugly face and sinister objectives of ISIL were uncovered to the world. They respected neither religious tenets nor international instruments. This should be an eye-opener for the entire nation and no states must leave room for radicalism and no individuals are to fall for the bogus claims of militants since they transcended moral restrictions and religious values. So, this group will be a stain in human history.