Security
Tim Kirby
June 24, 2019
© Photo: Pixabay

The most famous and feared terrorist organization ISIS (Daesh) at the present moment is moving to the India/Pakistan region, but for them this “expansion” may just be a means of informational damage control. The presence of ISIS along this very tense border region is a threat to India and Pakistan but not one capable of wielding a deathblow to the nation.

The Islamic State through one of its mouthpieces sent the signal to those who are willing to listen that they have set up operations in India and Pakistan. Naturally they use the term “provinces” for these projects as they consider themselves to be an amorphous caliphate, i.e. a legitimate functioning state with territory. Given the fact that ISIS seems to have quieted down, or may in fact be on the retreat, we can safely assume these “provinces” will probably consist of a few basements and rental apartments. Not much of an empire but plenty of space to plan and prepare terror attacks and work towards recruiting new members.

The main theory as to why ISIS is going east is that it was utterly crushed in “Iraq and the Levant” where it supposedly came from, and has no choice but to fall back. Mainstream and Independent Media agree that ISIS has become utterly broken and is in retreat. Russian support of the Syrian Arab Army + the actions of the Iraqi government with US support proved to be just too much to defeat using fleets of Toyota trucks.

Fighting an asymmetrical or information war as a non-state actor with terrorism is one thing, trying to fight a war as a state actor in traditional terms with very little resources is completely another and ISIS in their fervour bit off way more than they could chew. If Russia hadn’t gotten involved (ISIS may have put all their chips down that they wouldn’t) and Iraq had ignored them, then they may have been able establish their actual caliphate as a true nation in place of Syria, which after a few days of coming into being would have been bombed into ash by the US anyways.

ISIS has made itself famous and infamous with its massive PR campaign, which is good for their recruitment but bad for any attempts that they make to actually become a state. It is they themselves who put their project into a neatly packed box from which it cannot expand. If they want to have any hope of achieving their caliphate they need sister organizations with a friendly face that can assume power in countries people cannot spell as to not raise any alarms or try to start a caliphate in Kiev because anything that is bad for Russians is acceptable to Washington, be they Nazis or Jihadists.

The only real concern that any nation should have regarding terrorists is if they can get nuclear weapons meaning that India and Pakistan as nations have very little to fear from ISIS shifting to their neighborhood. In every nation there are whacko extremists of one sort or another, most of which just like to inflate their own egos online. The amount of people who die from terrorism is actually so small that terrorism as we understand it today, in the global strategic sense does not present much threat to society as a whole. In fact it presents virtually none.

Terrorism in the 21st century is horrific to the victims and a pointless waste of life but it poses no actual threat to the state. Any group of bizarre individuals in scary uniforms who possess ideas way outside the Overton Window and are willing to kill to enforce them are not going to get the public support they need and losing 24-ish citizens to a shopping mall bombing will not collapse even the weakest of nations.

India was occupied by the Mughals for centuries then the British who both came from totally foreign civilizations with totally different religions meaning that they are not the sitting ducks to terrorism that naive Western Europeans are. Hindus have been occupied and had the yoke of foreign ideas thrown onto them many times and yet they resisted long enough to survive as a civilization. India will prove to be very hostile ground to ISIS.

It would be a disservice to the public to not mention that ISIS’s ideology is ultimately ideologically and financially fueled by Saudi Arabia. Without Saudi support and Washington’s baffling-from-a-moral (reasonable-from-a-strategic) standpoint approval of the Saudi regime’s rule, radical Islamic groups the world over including ISIS would lose their greatest and potentially only patron. If Pakistan and India want someone to blame for Daesh coming to their neighborhood they should first look Riyadh square in the face keeping Washington in the corner of their eye. Pressuring Washington is very hard, putting the squeeze on a nation that can’t even handle Yemen militarily is a much easier option pending Russian gas, oil and nuclear power flow to you.

So, is the ISIS retreat significant? Yes, it proves a major shift in the direction the Middle-East is heading. Is ISIS coming to Pakistan/India significant? Somewhat, because they are more skilled and experienced than any locals with “big ideas”. Does ISIS pose a threat to national stability in the Indus Valley? Ultimately no, as no series of terror attacks could cripple the state unless they get their hands on nuclear weapons. India and Pakistan will endure this ISIS incursion however they are surely going to lose a few dozen citizens to terror attacks.

ISIS Invades India by Retreating

The most famous and feared terrorist organization ISIS (Daesh) at the present moment is moving to the India/Pakistan region, but for them this “expansion” may just be a means of informational damage control. The presence of ISIS along this very tense border region is a threat to India and Pakistan but not one capable of wielding a deathblow to the nation.

The Islamic State through one of its mouthpieces sent the signal to those who are willing to listen that they have set up operations in India and Pakistan. Naturally they use the term “provinces” for these projects as they consider themselves to be an amorphous caliphate, i.e. a legitimate functioning state with territory. Given the fact that ISIS seems to have quieted down, or may in fact be on the retreat, we can safely assume these “provinces” will probably consist of a few basements and rental apartments. Not much of an empire but plenty of space to plan and prepare terror attacks and work towards recruiting new members.

The main theory as to why ISIS is going east is that it was utterly crushed in “Iraq and the Levant” where it supposedly came from, and has no choice but to fall back. Mainstream and Independent Media agree that ISIS has become utterly broken and is in retreat. Russian support of the Syrian Arab Army + the actions of the Iraqi government with US support proved to be just too much to defeat using fleets of Toyota trucks.

Fighting an asymmetrical or information war as a non-state actor with terrorism is one thing, trying to fight a war as a state actor in traditional terms with very little resources is completely another and ISIS in their fervour bit off way more than they could chew. If Russia hadn’t gotten involved (ISIS may have put all their chips down that they wouldn’t) and Iraq had ignored them, then they may have been able establish their actual caliphate as a true nation in place of Syria, which after a few days of coming into being would have been bombed into ash by the US anyways.

ISIS has made itself famous and infamous with its massive PR campaign, which is good for their recruitment but bad for any attempts that they make to actually become a state. It is they themselves who put their project into a neatly packed box from which it cannot expand. If they want to have any hope of achieving their caliphate they need sister organizations with a friendly face that can assume power in countries people cannot spell as to not raise any alarms or try to start a caliphate in Kiev because anything that is bad for Russians is acceptable to Washington, be they Nazis or Jihadists.

The only real concern that any nation should have regarding terrorists is if they can get nuclear weapons meaning that India and Pakistan as nations have very little to fear from ISIS shifting to their neighborhood. In every nation there are whacko extremists of one sort or another, most of which just like to inflate their own egos online. The amount of people who die from terrorism is actually so small that terrorism as we understand it today, in the global strategic sense does not present much threat to society as a whole. In fact it presents virtually none.

Terrorism in the 21st century is horrific to the victims and a pointless waste of life but it poses no actual threat to the state. Any group of bizarre individuals in scary uniforms who possess ideas way outside the Overton Window and are willing to kill to enforce them are not going to get the public support they need and losing 24-ish citizens to a shopping mall bombing will not collapse even the weakest of nations.

India was occupied by the Mughals for centuries then the British who both came from totally foreign civilizations with totally different religions meaning that they are not the sitting ducks to terrorism that naive Western Europeans are. Hindus have been occupied and had the yoke of foreign ideas thrown onto them many times and yet they resisted long enough to survive as a civilization. India will prove to be very hostile ground to ISIS.

It would be a disservice to the public to not mention that ISIS’s ideology is ultimately ideologically and financially fueled by Saudi Arabia. Without Saudi support and Washington’s baffling-from-a-moral (reasonable-from-a-strategic) standpoint approval of the Saudi regime’s rule, radical Islamic groups the world over including ISIS would lose their greatest and potentially only patron. If Pakistan and India want someone to blame for Daesh coming to their neighborhood they should first look Riyadh square in the face keeping Washington in the corner of their eye. Pressuring Washington is very hard, putting the squeeze on a nation that can’t even handle Yemen militarily is a much easier option pending Russian gas, oil and nuclear power flow to you.

So, is the ISIS retreat significant? Yes, it proves a major shift in the direction the Middle-East is heading. Is ISIS coming to Pakistan/India significant? Somewhat, because they are more skilled and experienced than any locals with “big ideas”. Does ISIS pose a threat to national stability in the Indus Valley? Ultimately no, as no series of terror attacks could cripple the state unless they get their hands on nuclear weapons. India and Pakistan will endure this ISIS incursion however they are surely going to lose a few dozen citizens to terror attacks.

The most famous and feared terrorist organization ISIS (Daesh) at the present moment is moving to the India/Pakistan region, but for them this “expansion” may just be a means of informational damage control. The presence of ISIS along this very tense border region is a threat to India and Pakistan but not one capable of wielding a deathblow to the nation.

The Islamic State through one of its mouthpieces sent the signal to those who are willing to listen that they have set up operations in India and Pakistan. Naturally they use the term “provinces” for these projects as they consider themselves to be an amorphous caliphate, i.e. a legitimate functioning state with territory. Given the fact that ISIS seems to have quieted down, or may in fact be on the retreat, we can safely assume these “provinces” will probably consist of a few basements and rental apartments. Not much of an empire but plenty of space to plan and prepare terror attacks and work towards recruiting new members.

The main theory as to why ISIS is going east is that it was utterly crushed in “Iraq and the Levant” where it supposedly came from, and has no choice but to fall back. Mainstream and Independent Media agree that ISIS has become utterly broken and is in retreat. Russian support of the Syrian Arab Army + the actions of the Iraqi government with US support proved to be just too much to defeat using fleets of Toyota trucks.

Fighting an asymmetrical or information war as a non-state actor with terrorism is one thing, trying to fight a war as a state actor in traditional terms with very little resources is completely another and ISIS in their fervour bit off way more than they could chew. If Russia hadn’t gotten involved (ISIS may have put all their chips down that they wouldn’t) and Iraq had ignored them, then they may have been able establish their actual caliphate as a true nation in place of Syria, which after a few days of coming into being would have been bombed into ash by the US anyways.

ISIS has made itself famous and infamous with its massive PR campaign, which is good for their recruitment but bad for any attempts that they make to actually become a state. It is they themselves who put their project into a neatly packed box from which it cannot expand. If they want to have any hope of achieving their caliphate they need sister organizations with a friendly face that can assume power in countries people cannot spell as to not raise any alarms or try to start a caliphate in Kiev because anything that is bad for Russians is acceptable to Washington, be they Nazis or Jihadists.

The only real concern that any nation should have regarding terrorists is if they can get nuclear weapons meaning that India and Pakistan as nations have very little to fear from ISIS shifting to their neighborhood. In every nation there are whacko extremists of one sort or another, most of which just like to inflate their own egos online. The amount of people who die from terrorism is actually so small that terrorism as we understand it today, in the global strategic sense does not present much threat to society as a whole. In fact it presents virtually none.

Terrorism in the 21st century is horrific to the victims and a pointless waste of life but it poses no actual threat to the state. Any group of bizarre individuals in scary uniforms who possess ideas way outside the Overton Window and are willing to kill to enforce them are not going to get the public support they need and losing 24-ish citizens to a shopping mall bombing will not collapse even the weakest of nations.

India was occupied by the Mughals for centuries then the British who both came from totally foreign civilizations with totally different religions meaning that they are not the sitting ducks to terrorism that naive Western Europeans are. Hindus have been occupied and had the yoke of foreign ideas thrown onto them many times and yet they resisted long enough to survive as a civilization. India will prove to be very hostile ground to ISIS.

It would be a disservice to the public to not mention that ISIS’s ideology is ultimately ideologically and financially fueled by Saudi Arabia. Without Saudi support and Washington’s baffling-from-a-moral (reasonable-from-a-strategic) standpoint approval of the Saudi regime’s rule, radical Islamic groups the world over including ISIS would lose their greatest and potentially only patron. If Pakistan and India want someone to blame for Daesh coming to their neighborhood they should first look Riyadh square in the face keeping Washington in the corner of their eye. Pressuring Washington is very hard, putting the squeeze on a nation that can’t even handle Yemen militarily is a much easier option pending Russian gas, oil and nuclear power flow to you.

So, is the ISIS retreat significant? Yes, it proves a major shift in the direction the Middle-East is heading. Is ISIS coming to Pakistan/India significant? Somewhat, because they are more skilled and experienced than any locals with “big ideas”. Does ISIS pose a threat to national stability in the Indus Valley? Ultimately no, as no series of terror attacks could cripple the state unless they get their hands on nuclear weapons. India and Pakistan will endure this ISIS incursion however they are surely going to lose a few dozen citizens to terror attacks.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.