Islamic State as a Western Phenomenon?

Daesh has been a disaster for the image of Islam and Muslims around the world.

Not only is IS to a degree an alien movement in the larger body politic of the Middle East, it also seems to be a partly western phenomenon, a hideous offspring resulting from western neocolonial adventures in the region, coupled with alienation and demonisation of Muslim communities in western societies.

By “Western phenomenon,” I refrain from suggesting that IS is largely a creation of western intelligence as many conspiracy theories have persistently advocated. Of course, one is justified in raising questions regarding funds, armaments, black market oil trade, and the ease through which thousands of western and Arab fighters managed to reach Syria and Iraq in recent years. The crimes carried out by the Assad regime, his army and allies during the four-year long Syria civil war, and the unquenchable appetite to orchestrate a regime change in Damascus as a paramount priority for Western powers made nourishing the anti-Assad forces with wannabe “jihadists” justified, if not encouraged.

The latest announcement by Turkey’s foreign minister Meylut Cavusoglu of the arrest of a spy “working for the intelligence service of a country participating in the coalition against ISIS” – presumably Canada – allegedly for helping three young British girls join IS, was revealing. The accusation feeds into a growing discourse that locates IS within a western, not Middle Eastern discourse.

Still, it is not the conspiracy per se that I find intriguing, if not puzzling, but the ongoing, albeit indirect conversation between IS and the West, involving French, British and Australian so-called “Jihadists”, their sympathisers and supporters on one hand, and various western governments, intelligence services, right-wing media pundits, etc on the other.

– Read more: ‘Islamic State’ as a western phenomenon: Reimagining the IS debate – Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Eye

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