ISISIN J&K : A REALITY CHECKCHAPTERIINTRODUCTIONAND METHODOLOGY GeneralIntroduction 1. Islamic State (IS) poses an existentialthreat to a number of countries and represents a growing menace to the lives ofnot only the West Asian population, but the entire world. ISIS is one of themost serious threats that have engulfed a large portion of the Asian continent,especially Syria and Iraq, also called “Syraq” in contemporary internationallexicon1.It was created with an ambitious vision to establish a Caliphate (IslamicState) across the world, based on the Sharia law. The declaration of its leaderAbu Bakr al- Baghdadi, as the new Caliph (Leader of the Faithful) on 29 June2014, highlights the ultimate ambition of the salafist group. The recent terrorattacks undertaken by the IS, including November 2015 massacre in Paris,downing of Russian passenger jet over Egyptian airspace, murder of provincialgovernor in Yemen, attack on airport and a subway station in Brussels Belgium,the dreadful bombing in Beirut, the suicide attack in Indonesian capital ofJakarta, attack at Holey Artisan bakery cafe in a diplomatic enclave of Dhakaand suicide attack in Kabul in Jul 2016 clearly underscore its transition froma regional terror outfit of West Asia to an international terror organizationattempting to establish the caliphate2.
2. The Islamic state has gone throughnumerous change since its founding in 1999, originally known as Jamaatal- Tawhid wal- jihad in 1999, it changed to Tanzim Qaidat al- Jihad fi Biladal- Rafidayn- commonly identified as Al- Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after group sworealliance to Osama Bin Laden. AQI was formed by Jordanian extremist Abu Musab AlZarkawi in 2004, which waged a terrorist war against American and coalitionforces and against the Shiite population. In 2006, when al-Zarqawi was killed in anairstrike and Abu Ayyub al-Masri was named his successor. He changed group’sname to Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), mainly to garner support from the peopleof Iraq. Al-Masri subsequently named Abu Omar al-Baghdadi as the leader of ISI.In 2010, when Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were also killed, theonus of running ISI fell on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Thegroup grew significantly under Abu- Bakr al- Baghdadi, gaining support in Iraqas a result of alleged political discrimination against Iraqi Sunnis.
He alsochanged group’s name initially to ISIS (ISIL) and finally to IS in June 2014& establishment of worldwide Caliphate was proclaimed on29 June 2014 wherein Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was named Caliph, to be known as”Caliph Ibrahim”, and the group was renamed Islamic State (IS) from Islamicstate of Iraq & the Levant. Fig 2: IS leadership1 Fig 2: IS leadership1 3. In 2015, ISIS expanded into a networkof affiliates in at least eight other countries3. In the period from June2014 to December 2015, IS had expanded its influence across West Asia, SouthAsia and North Africa and established control over territory equal to the sizeof Great Britain extending from the periphery of Baghdad to Damascus andcomprising around six million people4. Therecent hoisiting of ISIS flags by Kashmiri people on multiple occasions is amatter of concern for India as the incident also coincides with the attempts bysome Indian youths from different parts of the country trying to go to Syria tojoin ISIS. The incident may be a sign of growing ISIS influence in J&K innear future & has the potential to add another most dangerous dimension tothe existing situation in Kashmir. 4. IS’ new strategy seems to be based on a”Core and Periphery” theory5″.
As per this theory, Caliphate is the core which needs to be heavily defendedand tightly controlled. If the IS cannot expand the core, it must attack theperiphery; which is the rest of the world. This explains the startling rise ofIS beyond Iraq and Syria, including the Af-Pak region. ISIS announcedoperations to expand Libya, Sinai and other corners of Arab world in late 2014.The timing of this announced expansion supported ISIS momentum while it facedcounter attack inside Iraq and Syria. In less than two year more than dozencountries were attacked by ISIS6. Its grand strategy ofmaking international alliances and high ambition of universal expansion of ISas the ‘Caliphate’, therefore, poses new challenges to the world. LiteratureReview 1.
The literature on the subject was onlyavailable on the open source, as the topic being contemporary. However, thereview of the same presented an interesting view as the topic was beingexperimented by western countries & various study groups around the globe.The views presented a broad canvas with variety of views/ideas/assumptions inthe thought process. Thus the existing gaps were identified, as to what are thefactors which make Sunni population of Pakistan vulnerable or immune to ISISthreat. 8. Hence the study was undertaken so as topinpoint the strength and vulnerabilities of Pakistani Sunni population andanalyse them in correlation to ideology of ISIS. The study mainly focused onthe available article/studies on the open source. ResearchProblem 9.
The above mentioned topic has the following ResearchProblems:- (a) What appeal does ISIS have for the Islamicfundamentalists in Pakistan? (b) Can Pakistan’s military establishment tackle the threatposed by ISIS given the same has invested a lot in the past many decadestowards Islamisation and radicalisation of the population of Pakistan? (c) What strengthsand weaknesses of Sunni population of Pakistan will ISIS counter or cash uponto be successful in the country? Statement of Problem 10. The conflict in Iraq and Syria has brought to the forefront, amajor scuffle between two sects in Islam. The militant group Islamic State ofIraq and Syria has been trying to impose the most extremist form of Islam, andthe effects of this are being seen in several parts of the world. 11. Pakistan has an increasingly Islamised population. Pakistanishave always been taught to regard their country as the ‘Fortress of Islam’.Pakistanis have always considered the various jihadist groups operating theworld over with a certain positive affinity. Even Osama BinLaden enjoyed immense popularity in Pakistan for his actions in the name ofIslam.
The success achieved by various terror groups operating within Pakistan also points to thefact that they must enjoy some popular support albeit from differing sectionsof populace depending on the cause they espouse. 12. Sections of population amongst Pakistanis are thus bound toadmire the ISIS and support the Caliphate proclaimed by it. In view of theabove, this dissertation seeks to studythe likely impact of ISIS ideology on Sunni population of Pakistan. Objectivesof the Study 13. The specific objectives of the study are as follows:- (a) To understand the Ideology of ISIS. (b) To assess the critical strengths andvulnerabilities of Sunni population of Pakistan.
(c) To identify important trends and finding theway forward. Hypothesis 14. ISIS is not likely tosucceed in influencing the ideology of Sunni population of Pakistan. ResearchMethodology 15. Method of DataCollection- Primary. Aquestionnaire comprising eight questions was prepared.
The questionnaireattached as Appendix A was fieldedin ‘Google Forms’. Responsesobtained from 106 service officers of DSSC on the abovementioned questionnaireis attached as Appendix B. 16. Method of DataCollection- Secondary.
Booksand articles on Pakistan, Islam and Sunni dynamics were referred to. For ISISideology and ongoing scenario various articles and write ups available in theenvironment were referred to. Data collection also included the references tovarious websites on the dynamics of Shia, Sunni, Islam and ISIS. 17. Method of DataAnalysis. (a) The study analyses the ideology of ISIS. (b) The study also brings out the presentcondition of Pakistan Sunni Population.
(c) The study also analyses the various ISISIdeology against Pakistan Sunni population.(d) Collectedprimary data were analyzed in accordance with the research objectives usinganalysis based upon the survey response. Chapterisation 18. It is proposed to study the subject in the following chapters:- (a) ChapterI : Introduction and Methodology. This chapter gives out the research problem, methodology andhypothesis on which the research is based upon.
(b) ChapterII : Fault Lines and Strengths of Pakistan. This chapter brings outthe various social, religious, ethnic and sectoral fault lines in Pakistan. Italso includes study of strengths of Pakistan as a nation. (d) ChapterIII : Ideology of ISIS and Sunni Population of Pakistan. This chapter gives out the ideology ofISIS and their concept of Caliphate.
It also includes the various schools ofthought within Sunni community, their madhhabs, and revivalist movements inIslam with special reference to Pakistan Sunni population. (d) ChapterV : Data Analysis & Inferences. Survey analysis is appliedin this chapter to validate the hypothesis.
(e) ChapterVI : Way Forward & Recommendations. This chapter brings out the likely wayforward and the various recommendations with respect to Pakistan State tocounter the ISIS threat effectively and promptly. 1 Stanly Johny. “To Defeat or toContain Islamic State?”. The Hindu. 11 December 2015.
< http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/to-defeat-or-to-contain-islamic-state/article7971942.ece>accessed on 11 Sep 2016.
> accessed on 03 Nov 2017. 2 Erick Schmitt and David DKirkpatrick. “IS Shifts Strategy to Inflict Terror in Distant Lands”. TheHindu. 27 November 2015.
wilsocentre.org.4 Stanly Johny. “Understanding andCountering IS”.
08 July 2015. The Hindu. 08 July 2015.