Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria have become a global hub for Jihadi groups and their fighters. There are, now four times as many Jihadi fighters, estimated to be about 230,000 militants, as there were on September 11, 2001. Most importantly, these fighters are well trained, skilled and intelligent with many of them educated in the world’s renowned universities and colleges.
As per the latest data, the total number is spread across 70 countries with majority currently located in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The surge in the numbers comes after the collapse of the Islamic State’s (IS) caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Alarmingly, the global jihadist movement is still very much alive. So, what lies for the Al Qaeda and IS? Will the two groups work together? EurAsian Times gives an insight.
Increased ‘West’s’ presence in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia has breathed new life into the global jihadist movement. Despite the death of Osama bin Laden and recapture of Islamic State’s hold in Mosul and Raqqa, the jihadists have only gotten stronger and more determined than ever.
Analysts from EurAsian Times and other global observers say the global jihadist movement is a transnational social movement which is made up of organizations, networks, cells and individuals. Blindsided by IS’s (also known as ISIS; ISIL or Daesh) sweep across Syria and Iraq, the West failed to predict the re-emergence of Al-Qaeda in new forms across the Middle East and North Africa.
Both movements have skillfully continued to evolve and proliferate. Together, these groups which acknowledge the US and the West as greater enemies and the Muslim communities too, pose complementary threats to global security.
Western governments are moving to harden borders, increasing information-sharing and cooperation between intelligence services and accelerating advances in technology that favour counter-terrorism efforts.
But the fact is that while these governments are spending billions of dollars on military hardware, they are not able to put an end to these groups. Thus, the never-ending cycle of countering terrorism. Moreover, the West has understood that the jihadist movement consists of individuals worldwide, some of whom have organized, who seek to destroy current Muslim societies and resurrect in their place a truly Islamic society through the use of armed force.
And it’s not that the militants are only killed. The soldiers and most of all, the common innocent men suffer the most. Civilian deaths are at all-time record high in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The United States must come up with a new strategy to counter the movement. It must first understand the movement and its ideology and reach out. Because so far, warring has not helped.