We have been hearing about ISIS or ISIL or Daesh or IS or whatever they call themselves nowadays till our minds have been infected by this piece of news. Let us start with the facts why you should worry more about what your kids do at night, in light of the #GirlsInvasion saga of a certain DJ convicted of child sex abuse, or the rampant destruction of the environment than a threat like IS clearly designed to spook and to entertain the far right and those who find pleasure in creating chaos (yes, people like that do exist!).
For convenience we will call these guys ISIS – which means the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as currently it stretches from Syria to Iraq and currently is losing territory and losing a lot of manpower from coalition air-strikes which also involves Arab states including Jordan which seems to be the most dedicated in eradicating ISIS ever since they burnt one of their pilots in a cage while still alive. Their demise is inevitable and their stretch of power is intermittent as many powers within Syria and Iraq want to see these monsters dead – the YPG, Kurdish militias, what’s left of the Assad regime, the West, various Iraqi brigades and the Iraqi army are doing their utmost to remove ISIS and facts on the ground show that ISIS can longer expand.
ISIS also lacks the religious support of 1.6 billion Muslims and of the ulema or religious scholars of Islam. ISIS which proclaims that the Caliph of Muslims is Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi is amir al mu’minin or commander of the faithful when scholarly he is not: to be a Caliph you have to appointed by the Prophet Muhammed, you have to have 100% approval from Muslim scholars and leaders, noble and pious and have military and civilian support – Al Baghdadi has none of these and ISIS is invalid even in Islamic jurispendence and ISIS are no different from Mexican drug cartels who also kill thousands every year and that ISIS thrive mainly on illicit oil, sex and drugs and ransom money – not to mention their leadership had no Islamic training, where “deviant” (according to Yusuf Qaradawi – a Pope like figure in Islam) and ISIS are merely a crime syndicate using faith and fear to control whatever they have left in their territories and they heavily rely on Sunni Muslim tribes who are slowly losing their faith in ISIS as well in light of their crimes against Muslims and humanity. This information surely shows why ISIS is not a threat in any sphere of combat – their economy is in tatters, their firepower is diminished and they are deeply unpopular just like any criminal organization on the run.
Lately in good old Malta, like every year, ISIS seems to be the hot topic of 2015 – replacing Ebola for some reason in 2014. One of the greatest assets of ISIS is media and in case of Malta – many Maltese have swallowed ISIS propaganda of controlling half of Libya (which is totally false) and their target is Malta; swallowed hook line and sinker. ISIS has failed like in Syria and Iraq to establish anything solid in Libya. Libya, since the removal of the dictator Qaddafi, has been loosely controlled by a coalition of militias – based on tribal and regional lines with various economic interests. ISIS cannot compete in an environment that is governed by other militias that are 100x the size of any ISIS militant group – in fact according the Libya Herald (2015), the Al-Battar Brigade consisting of a few hundred men (mainly foreigners) are allied with their so-called Caliph and the coalitions of Libyan militias who number a total of 680,000 members reject and hate ISIS like the rest of the Libyan people. Albeit, ISIS can cause huge problems such as bombing and kidnappings that can destabilize Libya but control of this country is far fetched. They do however have a presence in Derna and some areas in Sirt, which is home to a number of Gaddafi loyalists and criminal organisations and thus wherever ISIS try to establish a base they find competition from others.
The one million euro question is this: is ISIS a threat to Malta and Europe? No. They barely scratch the surface in Libya, they lack resources and have no intention to invade anyone especially Malta. ISIS right now is struggling and any attack on Europe would seal its demise forever – imagine the armies of Italy, France and the might of the United States reigning hellfire on ISIS. Just like we fear them on an unfounded basis, ISIS fear us because the military and economic might is not on their side but on the side of the West and its allies! ISIS do not have missile capabilities, do not have jets, do not have any bases in Libya (at least ones that are worthy of being called a base) and Malta is not on their agenda. No ISIS militant is going to cross with a dinghy to Malta and spend 18 months in detention with nothing and risk of being exposed just to attack tiny Malta! Social media continues to fan this idea of an ISIS invasion when none of it, even logically, is true. ISIS rumours is what ISIS wants and what Malta cannot afford: can you imagine the amount of people who put off their travels to Malta because of rumours and can damage tourism? People seem to forget that their posts on Facebook pages are read globally by anyone who is anyone planning to travel to Malta. I have already given solid facts why ISIS anywhere is not a threat and I hope this writing will suffice in knowing that ISIS are a bunch of crazy people who use fear and media to make them look big.
Nizar Hingari (ADŻ Malta Green Youth PRO)