Tags Posts tagged with "ISIS"

ISIS

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The 12th century mosque, the Grand al-Nuri in Mosul, from where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself the ‘Caliph’ of the world’s Muslims was destroyed by IS as they retreated from the Iraqi troops. Shortly after that, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally announced the liberation of Mosul.

The Iraqi army with help from Iran-trained militias, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the U.S. Air Force liberated small cities first, such as Ramadi and Fallujah, before moving towards Mosul in October 2016.

Recently IS has faced many setbacks like:

  • Losing more than half of the territories it once held.
  • Finding it harder to recruit new jihadists under strain of battlefield losses.
  • Its leader Baghdadi being either dead or on the run.

But these setbacks do not mean that the IS has been defeated, because of many reasons:

  • It still controls various strategic territories in Iraq. Hawijah, Tal Afar, Salahuddin province and pockets in Anbar and Diyala. In Syria, it still controls Raqqa, and Deir Ezzor.
  • There’s no guarantee that the IS won’t come back to the cities it lost.

In Syria, the battle against the IS, is more complicated than that in Iraq. In Iraq at least there is a consensus of America, the Kurds and Iran and Shia militias about what the legitimate force is against the IS i.e. the Iraqi government. But in Syria, Raqqa is being attacked by SDF and the government troops both. Russia is backing the regime, while the U.S. is supporting the SDF. Turkey, another country that’s involved by its proxies in the war, is wary of the SDF. So even if Raqqa is liberated someday, it will be difficult to reach on a peaceful decision on who will eventually run the city.

IS which started as an insurgency, has transformed itself into a proto-state. Now the proto-state is under attack, but it can retreat to insurgency (uprising/revolt) for its continued survival.

It has changed its strategy very recently. Instead of expanding its territories now, it has become defensive and released a wave of terror attacks in various parts of the world.

IS has established franchises in other countries. Boko Haram, Africa’s most dreaded terror outfit, has declared loyalty to the IS. In eastern Afghanistan, the Islamic State of Khorasa is a branch of the IS, which is controlling the group’s operations in South Asia. In Philippines, armed jihadist groups have declared their loyalty to the IS and are fighting the government forces also.

 

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Much is being talked about how US President-elect Donald Trump  foreign policy will unfold in the Middle East where America is leading the coalition to fight ISIS, some critical decisions about Pacific where China, a close ally of North Korea is determinant power will also have a bearing on US-China changing relations. With Trump  devising new terms and conditions for the military alliance between US-Japan-South Korea after January 20th whereby these countries will have to put their defense expenditure, China  with its massive military built up in South China Sea will aggressively confront US to dictate terms to bring North Korea for the resumption of six-party talks.

Meanwhile, China is opposing unilateral sanctions on North Korea outside the framework of Security Council resolutions. 

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula reached a high level in 2015 when Pyongyang conducted two nuclear tests and a string of ballistic missile launches and as a response South Korea is about to complete the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system by May 2017. The tensions will further rise as Russia, China and North Korea termed the action of US  and Seoul as provocative. But Park Geun-hye impeachment has created political uncertainty in South Korea. 

If Trump is thinking of having normal ties with Russia  and using Moscow card to browbeat China then he is bound to fail as because Russia-China ties are far deeper than US-Russia understanding though Putin had in someway helped Trump win the US Presidential elections.

Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command ,warned China that Washington would not accept Chinese control of the South China Sea, despite Beijing’s having undertaken rapid development of artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.

Harris further added “We will cooperate where we can but we will be ready to confront where we must and the US fought its first war following our independence to ensure freedom of navigation”.  

Trump may have to tackle China by involving countries having ties with both the countries and will have to take into confidence his own intelligence agencies,especially the CIA as well as moderate Republican  and Democratic members of Congress.

Article Courtesy : Arti Bali, Senior Journalist & Analyst

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif managed to replace COAS Gen Raheel Sharif with General Qamar Javed Bajwa despite Raheel’s popularity across different sections in Pakistan that even urged him to stage a sort of coup with Pervez Musharraf on his side. With the escalated India-Pakistan border tensions having implications, Bajwa’s credentials as a through professional may have regional and global dimensions. 

AS Donald pledged to eliminate ISIS from the Middle East  while Pakistan has been the main training grounds for Islamic terrorists and the continuous terror attacks on Indian armed forces since 2015 has further confirmed that there is no change in Islamabad’s policy on terrorism. 

During Raheel Sharif’s tenure numerous major terror attacks were carried out on Indian forces coupled with ceasefire violations after the September 29 Surgical strikes by India  to up his claim for political space in Pakistan. Needless to say that terror strike on Army camp at the XVI Corps headquarters in Nagrota near Jammu  and another attack on BSF patrol at Chamliyal in the Ramgarh sector of Samba district may come to be known as his parting acts. 

After the January 2017 inauguration of US President- elect Donald Trump, India will gain an upper hand in dealing with Pakistan. But Pakistan Army chief Bajwa having vast experience of serving as Commander FCNA (Force Command Northern Areas )of Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chief of Staff as well as GOC 10 Corps (the Pakistani Corps which is responsible for operations along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir) and well versed with Kashmir affairs may opt in favour of restoring ties along with new ceasefire deal that may also spur Nawaz Sharif hitherto sagging image in Pakistan. 

Nawaz Sharif who is aware of the new US leadership considering to designate Pakistan as a terror state, will weigh in favour of normalizing India-Pakistan ties and Bajwa will try to dispense with the concept of regarding terrorist outfits as a  strategic assets of Pakistan against India. 

As China is a close ally of Pakistan but tries to maintain good relations with US may also pay heed to India terror concerns which was previously ignored.

Article Courtesy : Arti Bali, Senior Journalist & Analyst

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The Islamic State is on the backfoot in Iraq and Syria due to the coalition operations by Iraqi Army, Kurdistan forces  and Russian air raids in Syria along with US support,the jihadist group is trying to find a foothold in Egypt. 

The Egyptian President Abdel -Fattah Al Sisi announced his support for the Syrian, Libyan and Iraqi armies combating the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham”(ISIS). 

The Egyptian Army is on a mission to expel the remaining Islamic State terrorists  from the Sinai Peninisula. The Islamic State or ISIS was created when US withdrew troops from Iraq leaving a vacuum resulting in the merging of the fringe elements of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Party as well as residual elements of different ethnic groups that supported Muammer Gaddafi in Libya all of whom continue to work in a loose coordination for the ISIS. 

But Egypt had been facing political turmoil since 2011 when anti-government protests against Hosni Mubarak broke out in 2011 and Mohamed Morsi who was in prison became president after his party Muslim Brotherhood won the election.As Morsi was facing charges of espionage  and initiating anti-government protests in 2011.As military chief, current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the public movement to overthrow Morsi in July 2013. The Egyptian government and other Muslim-majority countries declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation. 

But the highest court in Egypt has quashed the life sentence imposed on the country’s former president, Mohamed Morsi. The deposed president remains in prison on a separate espionage conviction, despite the recent ruling by Egypt’s Court of Cassation. 

He is still serving a concurrent 40-year sentence on charges he spied for Qatar, the Persian Gulf nation that supported his administration and also serving a 20-year sentence for alleged involvement in anti-government clashes outside Egypt’s presidential palace in 2012. 

The Egyptian Army is now engaged in eliminating ISIS from Sinai Peninsula . There are reports that the leader named Wali has distributed the responsibilities pertaining to security, military affairs, bomb making and media . 

Shadi el-Menei is the media spokesperson of the group and a well known Bedouin militant . Menei was originally from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis outfit where after he shifted allegiance to the Islamic State in November 2014.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis outfit  got split from the Mujahidin Shura Council consisting of Jihadist Palestinian militants from the Gaza strip and the local Bedouin veterans that conducted attacks on Israel after Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011. 

Actually, The Western Powers consisting of US, Russia and European nations have merged to eliminate ISIS or ISIL jihadist group from the Middle East .

Article Courtesy : Arti Bali, Senior Journalist & Analyst

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India and Pakistan  are continuously engaged in exchanging heavy mortar firing  and the situation along the Line of Control has been volatile ever since India conducted surgical strikes on terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir  and it has escalated with the second incident of beheading and mutilating the body of an Indian soldier by Pakistani terrorists.
Three soldiers from 57 Rashtriya Rifles were in the lead of a counter-infiltration patrol when it was ambushed by terrorists and the body of 25-year old Rifleman Prabhu Singh  from Rajasthan was found mutilated in the Machil sector of Kupwara district in north Kashmir.

Beheading has since been and continuous to be the handiwork of Islamic State jihadists but Pakistan Border Action teams have also carried out such attacks in the past.

Beheading has since been and continuous to be the handiwork of Islamic State jihadists.There has also  been a liaison between outfits of Pakistani terrorists and Islamic State jihadists and there is every possibility of infiltration by the ISIS fighters into the web of Pakistani terror outfits. ISIS have shown their considerable presence in Afghanistan through attacks, in Pakistan and there were many incidents where ISIS flags were waved in Kashmir. 

Pakistan is not in favour of initiating a war with India and its Army is therefore not officially responding to the surgical strikes but it continues to provide cover fire to the terrorists for infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir to harass Indian forces and as a face saving measure .

Indian government should carefully observe and analyse  if such happenings in Afghanistan, Pakistan and in Jammu and Kashmir are isolated or appear to be linked or in the alternative an active axis has been formed by the ISIS in these countries which can be very harmful for this region. 

Chief of Army Staff happens to be in China for discussing terrorist activities emanating from Pakistan in various forms. 

Manohar taking to tweet on the beheading of Army Jawan has not gone down well with media as the sentiments are that these things need to be addressed officially and not through social networking sites which are actually meant for marketing purposes. 

While trying to appreciate Defence Minister, Modi termed Parrikar to the likes of Ratan in the court of Mughal emperor Akbar.  However need to realize that the basic responsibility of defence minister and the Army chief is to ensure minimum casualty of the armed forces where they have been found miserably lacking. 

This escalation and the surge in ceasefire violations that crossed 450 along the LOC and IB after the surgical strikes has diminished chances of reviving talks with Pakistan’s Sartaj Aziz who is set to land in Amritsar for Heart of Asia Conference on Afghanistan.

Article Courtesy : Arti Bali, Senior Journalist & Analyst.