The real war front

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On the 13th anniversary of 9/11, another American president was vowing to take on another brutal enemy — ISIS. There is no doubt that Islamic State in Levant is a real and imminent threat to the region which is already plunged into a host of political and sectarian turmoil. Apparently ISIS propaganda machinery has succeeded in making inroads across the globe targeting confused minds. Its appeal has reached as far as Europe and the US from where comrades in hundreds have joined this deviant force.

Now Americans are trying to cobble an alliance of willing regional countries to counter this religious menace, but what about the ideological war front? US can bomb and drone the terrorists, hit their hideouts in mountains, degrade their attack capabilities, ensure their eventual defeat and eviction from lands and territories they have occupied, but it can’t destroy the ideology which has prompted all this.

Reacting to an immediate threat doesn’t mean the long term threat is over — it’s very much there with capability to strike back. It has proved its resilience in different shapes and forms — Al Qaeda, Taliban, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram, and many franchises of Al Qaeda in North Africa. They are now reaching as far as India and Indonesia. Word (ideology) is far more powerful than the onslaught of a sword as words will live on for centuries. You can’t destroy the word; you can only counter it with logic and argument. That’s the way forward — we need to work on countering the ideologies which are breeding these brutal forces which feel no shame killing, beheading, maiming, kidnaping, destroying innocent people and their opponents just in the name of faith.

A scholar is far more powerful than B-130 provided he (or she) himself is convinced of the counter deviant ideology he is reaching. It’s not the job of soldiers and armies, civil society, intellectuals, journalists, educationists, media icons, artists, jurists, sociologists or psychologists; all have to come forward and join hands to fight these ideologies which are brain washing our generations after generations.

MASOOD KHAN

Jubail, Saudi Arabia