Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s En­emy Num­ber One – Rad­i­cal Is­lam

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - Dr. Twana Faris Bawa * *Se­cu­rity and In­tel­li­gence Stud­ies Uni­ver­sity of Buck­ing­ham

Is­lamist ex­trem­ism is rep­re­sent­ing the big­gest threat to global se­cu­rity in the 21st cen­tury. The threat of rad­i­cal Is­lam is not fad­ing, it is grow­ing. It is spread­ing across Iraq and the Kur­dis­tan re­gion and it is desta­bil­is­ing com­mu­ni­ties and even cities. Chal­lenges posed by rad­i­cal Is­lamic groups such as Is­lamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) be­comes in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous. Cur­rently, Kur­dish Pesh­merga are bravely fight­ing off the heavy Is­lamist of­fen­sives in a treach­er­ous 1050 kilo­me­ter fron­tier with ISIS ter­ror­ists. How­ever, the strug­gle against the Is­lamic ex­trem­ist group ISIS is far from sup­ported by all Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties. The Is­lamist po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Kur­dis­tan are re­luc­tant to look un­flinch­ingly at Is­lamic ex­trem­ism be­cause of their sup­port­ers and of their party pol­i­tics and poli­cies. Main­stream of Is­lamist won’t name and condemn the en­emy and are there­fore un­com­fort­able talk­ing about the se­ri­ous is­sues of rad­i­cal­ism and ex­trem­ism. Fur­ther, the Is­lamist par­ties must re­alise that the con­flict with ISIS is un­doubt­edly one of Mus­lim on Mus­lim and any­one that is be­com­ing in be­tween. Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) and its se­cu­rity com­mu­nity must do any­thing in its power to de­fend the re­gion against rad­i­cal Is­lam and the Is­lamist par­ties must take sides and if nec­es­sary, make com­mon cause with Pesh­merga and rest of the KRG’s se­cu­rity com­mu­nity to counter the Is­lamic ex­trem­ism that lies at the root of all chaos of the rise of rad­i­cal Is­lam in the Kur­dis­tan re­gion. If we want to de­fend our re­gion, we have to know the en­emy and stand united against ex­trem­ism.

Is­lamic ex­trem­ism is not about a com­pet­ing view of how so­ci­ety or pol­i­tics should be gov­erned within a com­mon space where you ac­cept other views are equally valid. It is ex­clu­sivist in na­ture. Their goal is not a so­ci­ety which some­one else can change af­ter win­ning an elec­tion. It is a so­ci­ety of a fixed so­ci­ety, gov­erned by re­li­gious poli­cies that are not change­able. Kur­dis­tan is fac­ing a mas­sive strug­gle with the on­go­ing con­flict in the re­gion be­tween those who want the Kur­dis­tan re­gion to em­brace the mod­ern demo­cratic world po­lit­i­cally, so­cially and eco­nom­i­cally and those who in­stead want to cre­ate a pol­i­tics of re­li­gious dif­fer­ence and ex­clu­siv­ity.

But what is ab­so­lutely nec- es­sary is that the Kur­dish Is­lamist par­ties must lib­er­ate them­selves from their own at­ti­tude. They have to take sides. We have to have a com­mon ap­proach to the re­gion that is co­her­ent and sees it as a whole. And above all, we have to com­mit. We have to en­gage against those who want to blow us and our al­lies up. It is the job of Kur­dis­tan’s se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, to counter any threat they might pose here in Kur­dis­tan and we all need to sup­port them. Th­ese are re­ally dif­fi­cult is­sues and Is­lamic ex­trem­ism is so deep that in the end they have to know that they're fac­ing a stronger will than theirs.

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