Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Still Not Hearing the Death Knell of IS


Still Not Hearing the Death  Knell of IS

The self-styled Islamic State (IS) group left a tragic history behind. Under the mask of religion, the IS carried out bloody war and shed streams of blood not only in Iraq and Syria but in many parts of the world. Although the IS group, which declared caliphate in 2014 in Iraq under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is on the run, it filled many hearts with pain and anguish.
Many heads were cut off, many children were orphaned, and many women were disgraced. People still mourn over the death of their dear and near ones. A number of girls and women are still reeling from losing their honor.
Worst of all, the IS group is still believed to be a threat to the world since its loyalists carry out deadly attacks. Some members of IS group is likely to have been amalgamated in other militant factions, mainly in Syria and seek to continue their militancy wherever possible. Now they will carry out large-scale attacks since they have nothing to lose. In short, the caliphate has come to an end but the threat remains serious and the IS loyalists will pledge allegiance to other militant factions so as to be able to carry out systematic attacks.
It is said that the IS militants are still spreading propaganda online and there are people who will fall for its bogus claim. The IS militants spew forth their venom through social media and will probably recruit youths from around the world. They will poison the minds of youths who come from religious backgrounds but without sense of distinction between right and wrong. Brainwashing the youths is highly perilous in our era as many individuals are brainwashed and sent to battlefields. Propagandizing online was the strongest technique of IS group which was really essential in recruitment.  
Now it is time to combat against IS group online. Counter terrorism experts say that the priority is to now destroy the “virtual caliphate” of IS. Patrick McGuinness, Britain’s Prime Minister’s top security adviser, said that the speed at which vulnerable young Britons could now be radicalized and plan attacks made them almost impossible to stop.
His comments came as a senior European Union security official also warned of the prospect of jihadists using biological warfare or cyber weapons to cause havoc.
McGuiness called on web giants to do more to tackle the threat. Large companies such as Google had made promising steps towards taking down extremist content, but he questioned if it was a high priority for them and “whether or not it is the A-team on this”.
Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, suggested a “Daesh 2.0” may emerge after the fall of the caliphate as the militants join forces with al-Qaeda. According to him, there was growing consensus among intelligence chiefs that foreign fighters who had travelled to Iraq and Syria to join IS would either die there or flee to other “hotspots” as the caliphate collapsed.
An early issue of an al-Qaeda propaganda magazine offered instructions on “how to make a bomb in your mum’s kitchen”. Kerchove said, “What if anyone will have a similar article on how to process a virus in your mum’s kitchen?” Jihadists could tap into networks of cyber criminals to develop or buy the expertise to launch a devastating cyber-attack, he suggested.
The sudden and swift growth of IS group shows that there were many political masterminds behind the smoke-screen. Capitalizing on sacred terms of religion, exploiting the religious senses of simple boys and girls, smuggling oil and resources, etc. were all suggested to IS by masterminds. Otherwise, a ragtag group without intellectual and financial supports will never ever grow so fast and send threat to the entire world. Those recruited by IS mostly knew how to shed blood. They knew nothing about policy. They were engaged in the quagmire of brutality.
To root out the IS militants and other terrorist groups, the world will have to campaign against the propaganda of such networks and keep them under surveillance in social media, too. The support of companies like Google will be highly effective in this regard. Furthermore, the world needs experts in cyber issues to detect those who propagandizing online. That is to say, a regional or global campaign will reduce terrorism, which has been changed into a global issue.
In brief, spreading propaganda online by terrorist networks is highly threatening and must not be underestimated. Therefore, campaigning against IS, which is one of the major propagandists, should continue to reduce militancy. Although the IS faction has been swept from Syria and Iraq, it still seeks to carry out attacks or poison the minds of people.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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